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Chapter 7

The Great West and the Agricultural Revolt

Indians Embattled In the West

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Civil War crashed to a close; the frontier was still wavering westward. Great west was embracing mountains, plateaus, deserts, and plains; it was the habitat of the Indian, the buffalo, the wild horse, the prairie dog, and the coyote. The entire domain was territories � “Arizona, New Mexico, and the “Indian territory, or Oklahoma.

Native Americans had misfortune with advancing white settlers.

Spanish-introduced horse had transformed the culture of the Plain Indians, causing the tribes to become more nomadic and more warlike.

White intruders spread cholera, typhoid, and smallpox among the native peoples of the plains, with devastating results.

By hunting and grazing their own livestock the whites shrank the Great Plains bison.

Competition among Indian peoples intensified.

Warfare between Indians and whites raged in the West.

The Indian wars in the West were brutal affairs. Aggressive whites sometime shot peaceful Indians on sight. It was terrible.

Cruelty begot cruelty.

A new round of warfare began when Colonel George Armstrong Custer led a “scientific” expedition in to the Black hills of South Dakota to discover gold.

Colonel Custer’s Seventh Cavalry set out to suppress the Indians and force them into the reservation.

Little Big Horn River in present-day Montana

Indians defeated Custer and they themselves were relentlessly crushed.

Chief Joseph � Indian Chief

The Fierce Apache tribes of Arizona were the most difficult to subdue. Led by Geronimo � eyes blazed of white hatred. The Apache became successful farmers in Oklahoma.

The fire-and-sword policy of whites shattered the spirit of Indians.

The Indians were also ravaged by the white people’s diseases and liquor, to which they showed little resistance. Above all, the virtual extermination of the buffalo resulted in the near-extermination of the Plains Indians.

Bellowing Herds of Bison

Tens of millions of buffalo were in the western prairies when the white Americans arrived. Their animals were the staff of life for Native Americans. The buffaloes provided Indians with food, fuel, and clothing.

A Kansas Pacific locomotive had to wait eight hours for a herd to amble across the tracks. William “Buffalo Bill” Cody Killed a lot of the bison.

The building of the Railroads even worsened the massacre of bison.

The End of the Trail

Helen Hunt Jackson, a Massachusetts writer of children’s literature, pricked the moral sense of Americans with “A Century of Dishonor” � talked about the sorry record of governmental ruthlessness and chicanery in dealing with the Indians. �

Also wrote Ramona � story of Injustice to California Indians

Christian reformers sometimes withheld food to force the Indians to give up their tribal religion and assimilate to white society.

Dawes Severalty Act - Act dissolved many tribes as legal entities, wiped out tribal ownership of land, set up individual Indian family heads with free acres.

Schools were also started for the Indians

Mining From Dishpan to Ore-Breaker

The conquest of the Indians and the coming of the railroad were life-giving boons to the mining frontier

Avid “Fifty-niners” or Pike’s Peakers rushed west to the Rockies

Many miners failed.

“Kings of the Comstock” They mined a lot

A lot of drinking � every third cabin was a saloon.

Theses towns began with a boom, but they ended with a whimper

Gradually the age of big business came to the mining industry.

The mining frontier was magnet like � it attracted population and wealth while advertising wonders of the Wild West.

Beef Bonanzas and the Long Drive

The transcontinental railroads helped out the west greatly.

Cattle could now be shipped

Packers could ship their fresh products to the East Coast in the newly perfected refrigerator cars.

The railroad made the Long Drive, and the railroad unmade the Long Drive, primarily because the locomotives ran both ways.

Bowlegged Knights of the Saddle � with colorful trappings and cattle-lulling songs, became an authentic part of American folklore.

Many were blacks � enjoyed freedom of open range.

The Farmer’s Frontier

The miners and cattlemen were from the west.

Western farmers got the Homestead Act

Homestead Act � the law provided that a settler could acquire as much as 160 acres of land by living on it for five years.

Before the act, public land had been sold for revenue, now it was to be given away.

Homestead Act � was “the Backbone of democracy”

Naked fraud spawned in the Homestead Act.

Unscrupulous corporations would use “dummy” homesteaders � often immigrants bribed with cash or beer.

The railways also played a major role in the development of the agricultural West.

Geologist, John Wesley Powell � explorer of the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon, He warmed that the Great American Desert had so little rainfall, thus the agriculture was impossible without massive irrigation.

The Farmers quickly went broke with a 6-year drought

Dry farming techniques were used � didn’t work very well.

Barbed Wire � perfected by Joseph F. Glidden

Federally financed irrigation projects caused Great American Desert to bloom.

Great West experienced a growth in population.

The Folding Frontier

The “closing” of the Frontier inspired one of the most influential essays ever written About American History � “Frederick Jackson Turner’s � The Significance of the Frontier in American History”

The frontier folded and the land that the settler’s owned was their most profitable crop.

“Safety Valve” � Theory that said when hard times came, the unemployed moved west, took up farming and prospered.

The Farm Become a Factory

Now high prices persuaded farmers to concentrate on growing single ‘cash’ crops, such as wheat or corn.

They had to buy expensive machinery to plant and to harvest their crops.

Communication by telephone from one part to another helped the farm become a factory.

Deflation Dooms the Debtor

Once farmers were chained to one-crop, they were now like the cotton growers.

They no longer were the masters of their own destines.

The price of their product was determined in a world market.

Low prices deflated currency.

Mortgages engulfed homesteads at an alarming rate.

Farm tenancy rather than farm ownership was spreading like stinkweed.

Unhappy Farmers

Mother Nature ceased smiling on agriculture. Grasshoppers ravaged prairie farms. The cotton-boll weevil was wreaking havoc.

The good earth was going sour.

A long succession of drought s seared the trans-Mississippi West.

High government tariffs poured profits into the pockets of manufacturers, while farmers were forced to sell in competitive, unprotected world markets.

Farmers still made up nearly ½ of the population.

The Farmers Take Their Stand

The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry � better known as the Grange was organized by a leading spirited person of the name Oliver H. Kelley.

Kelley’s first objective was to enhance the lives of isolated farmers through social, educational, and fraternal activates.

Grangers went into politics.

Through state legislation, they stove to regulate railway rates and the storage fees charged by railroads.

The Background of Populism

Rural discontent came from the Farmers Alliance.

Farmers came together in the Alliance to socialize, but more importantly to break the strangling grip of the railroads and manufacturers through cooperative buying and selling.

Alliance weakened itself by ignoring the plight of landless tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and farm workers.

The People’s Party � aka The Populists attracted countless recruits from the Farmers’ Alliances.

The queen of the “calamity howlers” � Mary Elizabeth (Mary Yellin) Lease. She was called the “Kansas Pythoness”

She had speeches denouncing Wall Street and reportedly cried that Kansas should raise “less corn and more Hell”

The Populists chose General James B. Weaver as their presidential candidate

Coxey’s Army and the Pullman Strike

The Most famous march � “General Jacob S. Coxey, a wealth Ohio quarry owner.

His platform included a demand that the government relieve unemployment.

There was a comic opera when “General” Coxey and his “lieutenants” were arrested for walking on the grass.

There were a lot of Labor Protests

Pullman Strike - lead by a lovable labor leader � Eugene V. Debs

He had helped organize the American Railway Union

The Pullman Palace Car Company was hit hard by depression and cut wages.

The workers struck � overturning Pullman Cars and Paralyzed railway traffic.

Golden McKinley and Silver Bryan

Long-standing grievances of the farmers and laborers gave ominous significance to the election of 186.

Republican Candidate � Former Congressman William McKinley of Ohio.

He sponsored to ill-starred tariff bill of 180.

McKinley was the creation of a fellow Ohioan, Marcus Alonzo Hanna.

He had the role of president � maker.

Hanna believed that a prime function of government was to aid business.

The Republican platform declared for the gold standard, even though McKinley’s voting record in Congress had for silver.

Cleveland � was dubbed the “Stuffed Prophet” � he was now mare a Republican than a Democrat on the Silver issue.

Democratic Candidate � William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska

He spoke the “Cross of Gold” speech

His platform declared for the unlimited coinage of silver.

Democratic “Gold bugs” � were unable to swallow Bryan.

The Democratic minority hoped for a lost-cause ticket � a McKinley Victory

Populist feared a hard � money McKinley victory � endorsed Bryan for pres.

They became the “Demo-Pop”

Class Conflict Plow Holders Versus Bondholders.

Bryan swept many of the states with his speeches. He even invade the East � “the Enemy’s country”

Hanna � used a “Campaign of Education” (Propaganda) to win the election.

Hanna’s campaign methods paid off

The Free-silver election of 186 was most significant since Lincoln’s victories.

The Bryan�McKinley battle heralded the advent of a new era in American Politics

Republican Standpattism Enthroned

As soon as McKinley took office, the tariff issue, which had played second fiddle to silver in the “battle of 6” quickly forced itself to the fore.

The Gold Standard Act of 100 provided that paper currency was to be freely redeemed in gold.

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