Plains Indians as heart
of society in the West- A Diverse group of tribes and language
groups. Some formed alliances with one another, others in constant
conflict. Some lived sedentary lives as farmers, and others
as highly nomadic hunters. Tribes were divided into bands with
governing council, making important decisions. Within bands
tasks were divided by gender. They survived by hunting buffaloes.
Hispanics in the West- Established farming and trading communities.
They had a small aristocracy and trading was primarily cattle
and sheep ranching.
Impact of Anglos on both Native Americans and Hispanics- Hispanics-
They established their own territorial government excluding
Mexican ruling class. Even without former power Hispanic society
survived with Anglo-settlement. The United States helped break
power of Apache, Navajo, and other tribes that had often harassed
them. This now allowed Hispanics to migrate. Native Americans-
New missions had enormous herds of cattle and a secular Mexican
aristocracy arose, which controlled a large number of estates.
Disastrous to them, and English-speaking prospectors worked
to exclude them from mines during the gold rush. In the end,
many lost their land.
Chinese in the United States- Came from poverty stricken land,
some as "coolies"(indentured servants). Most came
as free laborers. First welcomed them as conscientious hardworking
Nativism directed against Chinese- Turned hostile toward Chinese,
because they were industrious, therefore saw them as threats.
Included the Chinese in the "foreign miners tax".
Majority of them helped build Railroads, after they formed various
"china towns" around the west. Also some organized
"tongs" or violent communities.
Chinese Exclusion Act- Banning Chinese Immigration, also banned
those already in the country from becoming citizens. Believed
this would help growing fear of unemployment.
Land acts created to encourage settlement- Homestead Act of
18620 allowed settlers to buy plots of 160 acres. For a small
fee if they occupied land for 5 years and improved it. Timber
Culture Act(1877)3) Allowed homesteaders to receive 160 additional
acres if they planted 40 acres of trees. Desert Land Act(1877)
640 acres provided they irrigated part of their holdings.
Hierarchy of Working World- Class was highly multiracial white
workers occupied upper tiers of employment: management and skilled
labor. The lower tiers: unskilled and often arduos work in the
mines, or the Railroads. Chinese, Mexicans, and Filipinos were
suited to manual labor, and more accustomed to heat. Hierarchy
much like East and was not very mobile.
Waves of Settlement: Mining- settlers hoped to make quick fortunes,
boom very brief. First found gold in Pike Peak, prospectors
swarmed areas it was resumed. These marked important developments
in west. Most never ended up striking it rich. Ranching-Huge
area on the Great Plains where cattle raisers could graze their
herds free of charge. Cattle could be brought long way linking
West with East. Many said you could profit, but the open-range
industry quickly dwindled.
Cowboys as symbol of the West-Rugged free-spirited lifestyle
that many associated with the West in contrast to the stable
world of East. They didn't see the loneliness they felt, and
the physical discomforts. They only saw his affinity with nature,
and viewed him as a hero living the life of the natural man.
Place of the frontier in the American mentality-Considered it
the last frontier, West was always comforting to those who wanted
to start life anew. He said it ended an era in the nation's
history era of free land. This stimulated individualism, nationalism,
Treatment of Native Americans- "concentration" was
where each tribe is assigned its own reservation. Then Indian
Peace Commission moved in moving Plains Indians into 2 areas,
one in Oklahoma, and another in the Dakotas. The buffalo supply
was destroyed and killing the Indians source of food and supplies.
Also hindered their ability to resist.
Series of Indian Wars- Sand Creek- One arapaho and Cheyenne
band, ended in massacre. "Indian hunting" involved
White vigilantes tracking down Indians and killing them. As
proof they would bring back scalps and skulls. Little Bighorn-
Famous conflict between Whites and Indians, the tribal warriors
surprised Custer and his regiment. They killed everyone they
could until they eventually couldnt keep up. Crazy horse surrendered.
Chief Joseph's Trek- Persuaded followers to flee and reach Canada,
unfortunately, they fled. Geronimo and Apache Wars-Most violent
of all Indian conflicts, White miners mobbed the tribes. Ghost
Dance- mass and emotional, many believed this brought visions
that were mystical. Wounded Knee- The 7th calvary tried to round
up a group of Sioux at Wounded knee, they began fighting. There
was a one sided massacre against the Indians once machine guns
were used against them.
Dawes Act- 1887 provided for the gradual elimination of tribal
ownership of land. Also the allotment of tracts to individual
owners. This only applied to the Western tribes.
Farming and its problems- Fencing- Needed to protect against
the herds. Wood and stone were too expensive and would be ineffective
against the cattle. Water- The land was very dry and they depended
heavily on irrigation. Rainfall stopped completely. High Railroad
rates were a problem because they were not as high in the North
East. Also High interest rates for loans they desperately needed,
and since prices of crops rose and fell there was great concern
for their fortunes.