Chapter 26: The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution 1856-1896

Great West - Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, "Indian Territory" (Oklahoma)

The Clash of Cultures on the Plains:
  • Indian tribes had forced other Indian tribe sout -> much migration.
  • Whites brought disease, buffalo being killed
  • Treaties at Fort Laramie (1851) and Fort Atkinson (1853): Federal government established boundaries for the teritory of each tribe -> separated them for white settlement.
  • 1860s, intensified policy -> herded Indians to smaller confines "Great Sious Res" and OK.
  • Indians called African Americans in army "buffalo soldiers"

Receding Native Population:

  • Violent warfare: whites own'd Indians, Sioux own'd whites.
  • Colonel George Armstrong Custer "discovered" gold on Sioux lands -> Indians - war! -> Custer's army went for Indians, but they all got killed by Sioux.
  • Nez Perce Indians sent to res in Kansas
  • Reservation system (whites relized Indians were cheaper/easier to feed than fight)
  • Indians died: disease, no more buffalo.

Bellowing Herds of Bison:

  • During building of railroad, buffalo were killed to feed workers. Almost extinct by 1885.

The End of the Trail:

  • Helen Hunt Jackson - A Century of Dishonor - Ramona - sympathy for Indians
  • Humanitarians and Christain missionaries wanted Indians to become white/civilized - federal government displayed force against cults.
  • Dawes Severalty Act of 1887: wanted Indians to be civilized, gave Indians land to farm and act white - if they did, they'd get full property title and citizenship in 25 years.
  • Res land not allotted to Indians went to white railroads -> proceeds to educate and "civilize" Indians.

Mining: From Dishpan to Ore Breaker:

  • "59ers" to Colorade for gold, silver, grin (more miners than minerals), to Nevada "cornstock lode" (gold and silver) uncovered
  • "Lucky Strikes" in Montana, Idaho, (West) => ghost towns
  • Miners replaced w/ corporations (costly machinery and engineers)
  • Women (ran boardinghouses, prostitution) won equality on fronteir and got the vote earlier
  • Outpouring of sliver and gold -> Treausry resumed specie payments in 1879

Beef Bonanzas and the Long Drive:

  • Meatpacking business sprang w/ transcontinental railroad
  • Cowboys from Texas drover herd to railroad terminals.

The Farmers' Frontier:

  • Homestead Act of 1862 - allowed a settler to acquire up to 160 acres of land by living on it for 5 years, improving it, and paying $30.
  • Land on the Great Plains, through, was hard to live on.
  • Fraud - corporations got employees to get land w/ resources like timber, minerals, oil
  • West of 100th meridian was DRY! => "dry farmin" shallow cultivation => dust bowl
  • Irrigation -> dams.

The Far West Comes of Age:

  • 1876, Colorado became a state
  • 1889-1890, N Dakota, S Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming admitted
  • 1896, Utah admitted
  • Fed gov made Oklahoma settlement legal 1889 "Bloomers"/"89ers" rushed in ("Sooners" were the ones who came before it was legal)

The Fading Frontier:

  • 1890, frontier line no longer discernable - The Significance of the Fortier in American History - 1893 by Frederick Jackson Turner
  • National Parks - Yellowstone 1872
  • West=safety valve

The Farm Becomes a Factory:

  • Cash crop farming
  • Mechanization of agriculture -> bonanza farms (some 15,000 acres)
  • California: "country of plantations and estates," fruit and veg crops (refridgerated car)

Deflation Dooms the Debtor:

  • 1880s, prices went down, and one-crop farmers suffered.
  • 1890s - not enough money to go around
  • Farms under mortgages, people in debt

Unhappy Farmers:

  • Floods, erosion, droughts. People abandoned towns, esp in Kansas (1887)
  • High protective tariffs = good for manufacturers
  • 1890, half population farmers, but unorganized and scattered.

The Farmers Take Their Stand:

  • Farmers demanded inflation of currency w/ paper money
  • 1867 - "The Grange" organized - Oliver H. Kelley -> Farmer social activity
  • "Grangers" established cooperatively owned stores, grain elevators, and warehouses -> strove to regulate railway rates and storage fees through state legislatures
  • Greenback Labor Party: (1878) inflation and program for imporving lot of labor. 14 members in Congress. Ran James B. Weaver in presidential election of 1880 (didn't win)

Prelude to Populism:

  • Farmer's Alliance (TX late 1870s) (black one formed too) => 1890s became the People's Party (Populists): for nationalizing railroad, telephones, and telegraphs, a graduated income tax, "subtreasury", coinage of silver, Coins Financial school 1894 - William Hope Harrey
  • Mary Elizabeth Lease
  • Populists surprised Democrats and Republicans - ran Weaver for president and got many seats in Congress.

Coxey's Army and the Pullman Stirke:

  • Panic of 1893 fed Populists' fire.
  • Jacob S. Coxey -> 1894 set out for Washington w/ followers and demands: government relieve unemployment w/ public works program supported by $500 million in notes issued by Treasury -> arrested for "walking on grass"
  • Pullman Strike of 1894: Eugene V. Debs organized American Railway Union.
  • Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages by 1/3 => workers revolted, overturning cars, helf up railway.
  • US Attorney General Richard Olney (backed by Prez Cleveland) got federal troops to crush Pullman Strike (it was obstructing postal service)

Golden McKinley and Silver Bryan:

  • Election of 1896. Issue: monetary policy (gold standard or inflate currency w/ silver)
  • Republican: William McKinley (Ohio) - served in Civil aWar and Congress. Made by Marcus Alonzo Hanna (big industry in politics). -> Declared for gold standard, loved protective tariff.
  • Democrats: Cleveland unpopular because of depression. William Jennings Bryan nominated -> demanded inflation (silver): Democrats had taken Populist stance and many old Democrats secretly hoped for McKinley victory. "Demo-Pop" Party.

Class Conflict: Plowholders vs. Bondholders:

  • Bryan - amazing orator - made silver-promoting speeches everywhere.
  • Conservatives afraid. Hanna=Chairman of Republicans. $16 million campaign. Fear on their side. Employers threatened to pay workers in 50-cent pieces if Bryan won.
  • McKinley won (got populated East and New England votes) and the factory worker.
  • Byran's defeat=last serious effort to win the White House w/ mostly agrarian votes. FUTURE OF POLITICS LIED IN CITIES.

Republican Stand-pattism Enthroned:

  • 1897 Dingley Tariff Bill - high, but not high enough for some Lobbyists - 46.5%
  • Prosperity returned
  • Gold Standard Act of 1900 - paper currency be redeemed freely in gold
  • Inflation (more gold found)


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Anonymous said...

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Tyler said...

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Will said...

It is easy to overlook some of the environmental damage done during that period. However, it shows how man relies on the environment- for food as with buffalo or even for oil, as we do now.