American history I: final exam review



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Lakota Sioux Vow to Defend Their Territory

  • After having trouble with the Dakota Sioux and Cheyenne, the U.S. Army began to patrol into the Great Plains to prevent other tribes from organizing

  • The nomadic Lakota Sioux were determined to defend their territory against incursion by both white settlers and the U.S. Army

  • The Fetterman Massacre (1866)

  • Army Capt. William Fetterman and 80 soldiers were lured out of their fort along the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming by the Lakota Sioux under Chief Red Cloud

  • They soldiers rode into a carefully planned ambush and were wiped out by the Lakota; the ambush triggered two years of open warfare between the Army and the Sioux

  • The Indian Peace Commission

  • Formed by Congress in 1867, the Commission toured the Great Plains trying to identify how the conflict between Native tribes and settlers could be resolved peacefully; they concluded the problems were due to incursions by settlers into Indian territory

  • The Commission proposed creating 2 large reservations on the plains which would be managed by agents of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs

  • The US Army would be given full authority to deal with Indians who did not move to the reservations

  • The plan failed due to resistance from the Indians, who had never agreed to cooperate

  • 2nd Treaty of Ft. Laramie (1868) also called the Sioux Treaty of 1868

  • Guaranteed the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills in the Dakotas, as well as hunting rights elsewhere

  • Gold miners quickly violated the treaty, triggering later uprisings

  • In 1980, The Lakota tribe sued the government for violating the treaty, winning $120 million in damages; the Lakota have refused the money and continue to press the courts to instead return their land

  • Battle of Little Big Horn (June 25, 1876) also known as “Custer’s Last Stand”

  • Despite being greatly outnumbered, Col. George Armstrong Custer decided to launch an attack against a group of Sioux & Cheyenne

  • The Indians repulsed the attack, then surrounded Custer’s detachment and killed him and all of his men

  • This was the largest Indian victory in the Indian Wars; it was also, unfortunately, their last

  • Following Little Big Horn, Chief Crazy Horse and his Sioux were convinced to surrender to U.S. troops

  • Crazy Horse was arrested while attempting to negotiate a peace settlement; in a struggle with his guards, he was stabbed to death

  • The Ghost Dance

  • The Lakota had finally relented in 1877 and settled on a reservation under Chief Sitting Bull

  • The Lakota had begun performing a ritual known as the Ghost Dance, a celebration of a hoped-for day when the white settlers would disappear, the buffalo would return, and all of the Indian’s dead ancestors would come back from the dead

  • In 1890, federal agents ordered an end to the Ghost Dance, believing that it was preventing the Sioux from peacefully assimilating into American society, but the Lakota ignored the order

  • Sitting Bull was blamed for the Lakota’s defiance over the Ghost Dance and was ordered arrested

  • Police were sent to arrest Sitting Bull, but his supporters resisted; a gun battle broke out and Sitting Bull and 13 others were killed

  • Wounded Knee

  • Angered over Sitting Bull’s death, the Ghost Dancers left the reservation, breaking their treaty agreement

  • U.S. troops pursued them

  • On Dec. 29, 1890, the two groups fought at Wounded Knee Creek

  • 25 US soldiers and about 200 Lakota (mostly women, children, and the elderly) died in the battle

  • Wounded Knee marked the end of the Indian Wars on the Great Plains; the Sioux were finally forced onto the reservations

  • Chief Joseph & the Nez Perce

  • The Nez Perce refused to give up their assigned reservation in Idaho in 1877

  • The US Army threatened to forcibly relocate them; violence broke out and the Nez Perce fled, trying to reach Canada

  • Retreated 1300 miles and got within 30 miles of the Canadian border before being cut off by the Army and forced to surrender

  • The Nez Perce were forced to relocate to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma)

  • Helen Hunt Jackson (1830 – 1885)

  • Wrote A Century of Dishonor (1881), a book which exposed the shameful way the US government and the Army had treated the Indians

  • Jackson urged Congress to make amends; her pleas led Congress to try to find a new approach to Indian relations

  • The Dawes Act of 1887

  • In an attempt to assimilate the Native Americans into American culture, the government abolished tribal organizations

  • Broke up communally held reservation land by allotting each Indian head of household 160 acres for farming; single adults received 80 acres, children each received 40 acres

  • Any remaining reservation land was sold to white settlers with the money going into a trust set aside for Native Americans

  • The Dawes Act was a failure

  • Land allotted to the Indians was of poor quality

  • Agents put in charge of the reservations were often corrupt or biased

  • Most of the Plains Indians had little interest or experience in farming and didn’t want to be assimilated into “American-style” of life

  • Not understanding the concept of land ownership, most sold their allotments to white settlers

  • The “Indian problem” was ultimately solved by the decrease in Indian population from hunger, apathy, and disease

    • Technology and the West

    • Railroads

    • Why Build a Transcontinental Railroad?

    • Would tie the nation together

    • Would reduce travel time between East Coast and West Coast from months to days

    • Would lead to growth of towns and cities along the rail line

    • Would make moving goods and raw materials easier

    • Which Route to Build?

    • Southerners wanted a route out of New Orleans, but rough terrain in Arizona led to the purchase of flatter land from Mexico (the Gadsden Purchase)

    • Northerners wanted a route out of Chicago, but Southerners blocked their efforts in hopes that they could barter the route’s location in exchange for an expansion of slavery

    • The Pacific Railway Act

    • Passed in 1862 (during the Civil War, so the Northern route won)

    • Congress approved the construction of a transcontinental railroad, awarding contracts to both the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads

    • Both companies were given land along the right-of-way as payment, rather than cash; this encouraged competition and speedier construction – whoever built the most railroad, got the most land

    • The Union Pacific Railroad

    • Led by Grenville Dodge, a former general known for his organizational and managerial skills

    • Started construction on a rail line heading west out of Omaha, Nebraska in 1865

    • The Union Pacific used a mixture of unemployed Civil War veterans and Irish immigrants for labor

    • They hired over 10,000 men and housed them in camps along the tracks and in rolling dormitory cars

    • Rough living conditions led high crime rates – lots of gambling, drinking, and fighting between workers

    • The Central Pacific Railroad

    • Organized in California under 4 investors, including Leland Stanford, the future governor of California and the founder of Stanford University

    • Started construction of a railroad heading east out of Sacramento

    • Had the major disadvantage of having to have all their railroad and construction equipment delivered by ships from the east

    • Also had to begin building in the mountains almost immediately, slowing their progress and increasing their expenses

    • The organizers of the Central Pacific chose to hire over 10,000 Chinese laborers

    • Chinese were willing to work very cheaply because unemployment in China was very high due to the Taiping Rebellion

    • Chinese immigrants, who faced tremendous racism and were rarely treated fairly, tended to band together, creating “Chinatown” neighborhoods in major cities like San Francisco

    • The Workingman’s Party of California

    • The growing numbers of Chinese workers led to increased nativism and anti-immigrant political activism

    • The Workingman’s Party of California was a political party founded by Irish immigrant Denis Kearney in the 1870s to oppose Chinese immigration and the use of Chinese labor to build the railroads

    • Simple motto: “The Chinese Must Go!”

    • The Chinese Exclusion Act

    • Growing anti-Chinese sentiments led Congress to pass a bill in 1882 banning all Chinese immigration for 10 years

    • Additionally, Chinese immigrants already in the U.S. were blocked from becoming citizens

    • Congress renewed the Act for ten more years in 1892 before banning Chinese immigration permanently in 1902 (the Act was repealed in 1942)

    • The ban led to a decline in the Chinese population in the U.S., since most early Chinese immigrants were men

    • Completion of the Railroad

    • The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads finally met at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869

    • The completion of the railroad was celebrated with the driving of a golden spike to mark the spot where the two lines met

    • Amazingly, the entire railway had been built in only about 4 years

    • Time Zones Introduced

    • Prior to the railroads, time had been measured purely by the sun’s position, so the time of day was determined locally

    • In 1883, the American Railway Association divided the nation into 4 time zones to ease railroad scheduling and to improve safety; train wrecks were common due to discrepancies in local time, so a standardization of time measurement was necessary

    • Standardization of Trains

    • Hundreds of small, independent railroads quickly consolidated into just 7 major companies, increasing efficiency, lowering shipping and travel costs, and allowing for the development of standardized technology which further increased efficiency

    • The growing railroad networks also tied America’s regions together after the Civil War, helping minimize sectionalism

    • The Land Grant System

    • The federal government continued to give land to the railroad companies alongside their rail lines as payment and to encourage development

    • The railroads sold this land to settlers to raise the capital needed to build more railroads

    • Over 120 million acres of public lands had been given to the railroad companies by the late 1800s

    • Farming Technologies

    • The Steel Plow

    • John Deere patented a steel-bladed plow in 1837 that could cut through the tough sod of the Great Plains

    • Deere’s steel plow opened the way for “sodbusters” to farm the prairie, but they also led to the breakdown of prairie soils and the loss of topsoil to wind & water erosion, factors that would later cause serious problems for Plains farmers

    • The Mechanical Reaper

    • Developed by Cyrus McCormick in 1834, the mechanical reaper was a horse-drawn machine which could harvest far more grain than a man swinging a scythe

    • The reaper led to farmers planting more acreage, leading to an increase in grain production

    • Dry-farming

    • Farming method where seeds are planted deep in the ground where there is enough moisture to allow them to germinate without irrigation or surface watering

    • This was the perfect method for use on the Plains where surface water was scarce and rainfall irregular

    • The best crops for dry-farming were grains, so Plains farmers grew wheat and corn out of necessity

    • The Range Wars

    • As more farmers moved onto the Plains, they wanted to define and protect their fields

    • As sheep ranchers moved in, they needed access to water and pastures

    • Both groups were in conflict with the cattle ranchers who depended on the open range to graze and move their herds to the railheads

    • As a result, brief but violent range wars became common

    • Barbed Wire Ends the Open Range Era

    • Invented by Joseph Glidden in 1874, barbed wire allowed large areas of land to be fenced off cheaply and easily, without the use of very much wood

    • It allowed farmers and sheep ranchers to fence in the prairie and shut down routes (like the Chisholm Trail) used by cattle drivers

    • Cattle ranchers were forced to change their practices, and organize defined, enclosed ranches rather than drive cattle across the open range

    • Farmers Fall on Hard Times

    • In the 1880s, a serious drought struck the Plains, wiping out many farmers and ranchers

    • In the 1890s, excessive wheat production caused grain prices to drop, hurting farmers again

    • To survive, farmers often mortgaged their land to banks, but frequently lost their land when they couldn’t meet their mortgage payments

    • Declining Profits

    • Thanks to new technologies, farmers had opened up the Great Plains and were producing a much larger supply of grain

    • Grain supply ↑ = Grain prices ↓

    • Farmers were earning LESS

    • Rising Costs

    • High tariffs + unionized factory workers = high prices on manufactured goods

    • Banks were charging high interest on loans

    • Railroads were charging higher fees for shipping grain to eastern markets

    • Farmers were paying MORE

    • The Money Supply

    • To fund the Civil War, the government had flooded the market with paper money (“greenbacks”)

    • Supply of $↑ = Value of $↓ (inflation)

    • 3 Types of Money

    • After the Civil War, the government had three types of currency in circulation:

    • Greenbacks

    • Gold & Silver coins

    • Bank notes (essentially paper money issued by banks) backed by government bonds (loans taken out by the government); the bank notes could be cashed in at a future date for “real” government issued gold and silver

    • Government Fights Inflation

    • In 1873, the US Treasury stopped printing greenbacks AND stopped minting silver coins to reduce the money supply and stop inflation

    • The government also started paying off its bonds to reduce the number of bank notes in circulation

    • The response was too strong and reduced the money supply too greatly

    • Supply of $↓ = Value of $↑ = Prices ↓ (deflation)

    • Deflation Hurts Farmers

    • Decrease in the money supply meant that loans were harder to get and interest rates on loans became higher

    • Farmers were getting LESS money for their crops (because of the increase in money’s buying power) but paying MORE money for mortgages & other loans (because of higher interest rates)

    • The Crime of ’73”

    • Farmers believed that greedy banks had conspired to pressure the government into reducing the money supply (what they called “the Crime of ‘73)

    • Farmers began to organize and campaign for government to resume printing greenbacks and/or minting silver coins

    • The Grange

    • To organize the poor farmers of the South and Midwest and give them a more powerful political voice, U.S. Department of Agriculture official Oliver Kelley organized “The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry” in 1867

    • By 1874, the “Grange,” as the group had come to be nicknamed, had over 1 million members

    • The Grange Takes Action

    • As farmers’ conditions worsened, the Grange pressured state legislatures to regulate railroad & warehouse rates

    • Grangers also joined the Independent National Party (also called the Greenback Party) a new political party aimed at getting the government to print more paper money

    • Farmers’ Cooperatives

    • Grangers also created farming cooperatives where they pooled farmers’ crops and kept them off the market in order to limit supply and drive up prices

    • By working together, farmers could also negotiate better shipping and warehousing rates

    • The Grange Fails

    • The Greenback Party failed to win public support – average Americans simply didn’t trust paper money

    • The Farmer’s Cooperatives never grew large enough to be effective
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