APUSH II: Unit 1
Chapter 18: Conquest and Survival of
the West, 1860 - 1900
Essential Question:
What economic, political, & migratory
factors led to the end of the western
frontier by 1890?
What is the “West”?
For each era, define what the “West” was
& what role the West played in
American life:
(a) 1750
(b) 1800
(c) 1850
American Expansion & Manifest Destiny
Trends in Antebellum America:
1. Greater democracy & the return of the two-party
2. Emergence of a national market economy
3. Increase in federal power
4. New intellectual & religious movements
5. Social reforms
6. Further westward expansion
Trends in the Gilded Age: 1865 1900
1. Political and Business Corruption
2. Growth of the National Market Economy
3. The Railroad and the Second Industrial
4. New Grassroots Movements
5. Social reforms
6. The Concurring of the West
Manifest Destiny
• The spread of settlers beyond U.S. borders led
to widespread calls for annexation of newlysettled lands
• The term “Manifest Destiny” was 1st used in
1845 by newspaper editor John O’Sullivan,
who said:
God wants the USA (“His chosen nation”) to
become stronger
Expansion of American democracy & economic
opportunities were a good thing
Progress” by
John Gast,
The Oregon Trail – Albert Bierstadt, 1869
The “New South”?
Few significant economic or political
changes in the South took place until
the 1940s
“Jim Crow” reigned supreme
as whites legally segregated the
South into 2 distinct societies
America in the Gilded Age: 1870-1900
The North:
Experienced a “2nd Industrial Revolution,”
mass immigration, & urbanization
America in the Gilded Age: 1870-1900
The West:
continued after
1865 as miners
& ranchers
headed West
Effects of the War
• Political changes:
–With no Southern opposition,
Republicans passed new laws the often
favored Northern industry and trade with
the lucrative west: Morrill Tariff (1861),
Homestead Act (1862), Morrill Act
(1862), Pacific Railroad Act (1862), &
Legal Tender Act (1862) and National
Bank Act (1863), ie “Greenbacks”
Section 1
In 1865, 2/3The
of all
Their culture
lived on the Great Plains
was dependent
upon the buffalo
& the horse
Tribes of several 1,000 people were
subdivided into bands of 100s which made
it difficult for the U.S. to negotiate treaties
Searching for an Indian Policy
• Before the Civil War, the West was
“one big reservation”
–The Indian Intercourse Act (1834)
forbade whites from entering
Searching for an Indian Policy
• But…rapid Western expansion in the
1850s brought a new Indian
“concentration policy” with distinct
tribe “as
long as the
and grass
Searching for an Indian Policy
• Concentration did not last as whites ignored
these boundaries:
– Sand Creek Massacre (1864)—Col John
Chivington attacked 700 sleeping Indians in
CO after a peace agreement was signed
– Sioux War (1865-1867)—gold miners
wanted a Bozeman Trail (across Sioux
hunting grounds) to connect mining towns;
Sioux murdered 88 U.S. soldiers
Buffalo Soldiers
- Civil Wars Vets
-Following the tradition of raising
all black regiments in the north
during the Civil War, the “Buffalo
Soldiers” US 10th Calvary
Regiment was formed in 1866 as
the first peacetime, all-black
-Participated in many of the
Indian Wars as well as serving to
protect the US Mail Service over
hostile territory
-Went on to serve in the Spanish
American War (Battle of San Juan
Hill) and WWI
Section 2
The Mining Bonanza
• Mining was the 1st magnet to attract settlers to
the West
• CA (1849) started the gold rush, but strikes in
Pikes Peak, CO & Carson River Valley, NV
(1859) set off wild migrations to the West:
– Comstock Lode = $306 million
– John Mackay’s Big Bonanza made him richest man
in world
had miners”
the expensive
took little
skill or
to start,mining
but could
not reachto
most of the gold in the West
Regions of
the West
Discoveries of gold & silver led
to overnight mining towns
Mining Bonanza
• ¼ to ½ of the mining population
was foreign born:
– Latin American miners
brought experience & new
– Chinese brought a tireless
• Led to hostility & riots:
– Foreign Miners’ Act in 1852
charged a monthly mining
Immigration Control
Exclusion Act (1882)
Burlingame Treaty (1868)
• established friendly
relations with China
• granted China “most
Favored Nation” status
• encouraged Chinese
• allowed congress to
suspend Chinese
• Chinese immigrants were
permanent aliens
• Originally intended to only
be used for 10 years
– Not repealed until 1943
– Excluded Chinese from
marrying Whites
• Exodusters were black farmers who moved
West to escape Southern crop liens & Jim
Crow Laws
• Led by Benjamin “Pap” Singleton
• 1878: 6,000 African Americans fled to Kansas
– 1879: 15,000
Sutter’s Mill and the 49ers
The California Gold Rush
• The discovery of gold in 1848 led to a massive
influx of prospectors in 1849 (the “fortyniners”):
– Few miners struck it rich
– The real money made in CA was in
supplying miners with food, saloons, &
– The gold rush led to a population boom,
increase in agriculture, & multicultural
Californian society
Gold Rush
• 1848 - James Marshall
at Sutter Mill
• Most Americans did not
start traveling west until
1849…hence the name
 San
before the gold
 San
after the gold
Section 3
In the 1860s, cattle ranching boomed
By 1867, ranchers
started using trains to
ship cattle to Chicago
used the
“open range”
to graze
Cattle and
the West
•Birth of ‘cow towns’ across the west
•Abilene, Dodge City, Kansas City
The Cattle Bonanza
• ½ of all cowboys were
black & ¼ were
• By 1880, the
“open range”
was ending:
– Wheat growers,
homesteaders, &
barbed wire blocked
the range
– Many switched to
raising sheep
Community and Conflict
• Personal violence was commonplace in the cattle towns
and mining camps.
• Horse theft rose rapidly during the peak years of the
cattle drives.
• During the 1870s, range wars turned violent when
farmers, sheep ranchers, and cattle ranchers battled
over the same land.
• By the mid-1880s the cattle business went bust.
– Overstocking led to herds depleting sparse grasslands.
– Bad weather from 1885 to 1887 killed 90 percent of
western cattle, and prices plummeted.
•Originated in Mexico
(where cowboy tools
came from)
•Former slaves used
skills from plantation
to be good cowboys
•End of the open
range and refrigerated
train ended practical
cowboys by 1886
Section 4
The Farming Bonanza
• The U.S. gov’t offered incentives for farmers to
settle the West:
– Homestead Act (1862)—gave 160 acres of land if
families pledged to live there for 5 years
– Other gov’t acts helped develop western lands by
planting trees & building irrigation systems
– Due to land grants, RRs were the largest western
Work, Dawn to Dusk
• Farm families survived and prospered through hard
– Men’s work tended to be seasonal.
– Women’s activities were usually more routine.
– Children worked running errands and completing chores
by about age nine.
• Community was an important part of life.
– People depended on neighbors for help in times of need
and for a break from the hard work and harsh climate.
• The barter system developed due to lack of cash.
Women in the West
• Few women worked on the open range.
• Some 50,000 women worked as prostitutes
in the West during the second half of the
nineteenth century.
– There were few jobs for women and many
resorted to prostitution simply to pay the bills.
• Their life was quite harsh and seldom paid
• In 1887, Lizzie Chrisman filed the first
homestead claim in Nebraska
• "Soddies" were constructed of stacked layers
of cut prairie turf, fortified by a thick network
of roots
• The roofs, often supported by timber, were
usually covered with more sod, straw, and
small branches
The Farming Bonanza
• In 1870, homesteaders pushed West &
adapted to the harsh farming conditions:
–Farmers used dry farming techniques &
planted tougher varieties of wheat
–New machinery sped harvesting &
planting; led to bonanza farms
–By 1890, the U.S. became a major crop
Range Wars
• Reduced access to grassland
• Ethnic and religious prejudice toward
Mexican-American, Basque and Mormon
• 1883-84 Fence-Cutter’s War
Rails Across the Continent
• In 1862, Congress authorized the
transcontinental railroad:
– Union Pacific worked westward from
Nebraska (Irish laborers)
– Central Pacific worked eastward from CA
(Chinese immigrants)
– May 10, 1869 the 2 tracks met at
Promontory Point in Utah
• By 1900, 4 more lines were built to the Pacific
Rails Across the Continent
• Railroads held great power in developing and settling
the West.
– Railroads delivered crops and cattle to eastern markets and
brought back goods.
• Railroads put communities “on the map.”
– Railroads in the West preceded settlement.
– Towns along the railroad lines flourished.
Irish workers made up a large percentage
of laborers on the eastern section
Chinese workers made up a
large percentage of laborers
on the western leg
1st transcontinental railroad connected the
west coast to eastern cities in 1869
The End of the ‘West’
• By 1890 the Frontier was gone
– 1880s had seen a severe drought, a harsh winter,
and the enclosure of the cattle routes
– 1896: The Klondike Gold Rush opened a new
frontier in Alaska
• The heyday of the “Wild West” was actually a short
lived period in American history
• Turner’s Frontier Thesis
– Turner’s “rugged individualism” became the
prevailing view
Section 5
New Production Technologies
• Preparing western lands for cultivation was a
difficult process because of the tough sod.
• New technologies greatly increased the amount
of land that could be farmed
– Development of the Combine – combined the reeper
and the harvester
• Through federal aid, land-grant colleges, and
other sources of scientific research, farmers
developed new techniques for cultivation.
Timber Cultures Act, 1873
• Supplement the
Homestead Act
• 160 additional acres for
• 40 acres must be
planted with trees
• Environmental Planning
National Reclamation Act, 1902
• aka Newland Act
• Build dams to create
irrigation for farmland
in the West
• (Signed into law by
The Toll on the Land
• Farmers destroyed existed plant and animal species
and introduced new ones.
• Replacing buffalo with cattle and sheep, introduced
animals that ate grasses down to the roots and
created the possibilities of huge dust storms.
• Commercial agriculture took a heavy toll on existing
water supplies.
• The federal government created the Forest Service
to safeguard watersheds.
• The high cost of improving land let many
farmers to be in debt for decades despite the
low initial land costs
• Western farmers increasingly saw themselves
at odds with Eastern manufacturers and
railroad tycoons
Section 6
Nature's Majesty
• Writers described in great detail the wonder of
nature’s majesty in the West.
• The federal government created national parks in
1871, and sent a team of scientists and
photographers to record the region’s beauty.
• Landscape painters from the Rocky Mountain
School piqued the public’s interest in the West.
The Legendary Wild West
• More popular presentations emphasized the
West as a source of “vigorous manhood.”
• Thousands of “dime novels” appeared that
portrayed the region in romantic, heroic
• Wild West show promoters like “Buffalo Bill”
Cody brought the legendary West to millions
of people around the world.
The “American Primitive”
• The West continued to captivate American imagination.
– The public sought depictions of bold cowboys and exotic savages.
• Charles Schreyvogel, Charles Russell, and Frederic
Remington helped to shape Americans’ perception of the
• Scholars like Alice Cunningham Fletcher studied Indians and
began to develop a scientific understanding of their lives.
• The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts incorporated a large dose of
tribal lore into their character-building programs.
Section 7
Reform Policy and Politics
• The federal government’s tradition of treating Indian
tribes as separate nations ended in 1871.
• Reformers like Helen Hunt Jackson advocated policies
designed to promote Indian assimilation and eradicate
distinct tribal customs.
• The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 was a disaster for
most Indians and undermined tribal sovereignty.
– Individuals were granted land if they chose to sever from their
– Indian religions and sacred ceremonies were banned along
with the telling of Indian myths.
– “Indian schools” forbade Indian clothing styles, language, and
even hair fashions.
The Ghost Dance
• A Paiute prophet, Wovoka, had a vision that
a divine judgment was coming and led the
Sioux to practice the Ghost Dance.
– White authorities grew fearful and demanded an
end to the practice.
• An incident led whites to gun down 200
people at Wounded Knee.
Searching for an Indian Policy
• In 1867, the U.S. formed the Indian
Peace Commission :
– Ended Bozeman Trail plans
– Made “small reservations” in the
Dakota & Oklahoma territories
• Few Native Americans settled into these
reservations peacefully:
– Red River War (1874)
– Little Big Horn (1876)
of gold
in South
– Wounded
led a Sioux army of 2,500 to ambush
& kill Lt Col Custer & his 197 soldiers
Indian Wars
• Battle of Litter Bighorn (1876): The discovery of
gold in South Dakota led a Sioux army of 2,500 to
ambush & kill Lt Col Custer & his 197 soldiers
– “Custer’s Last Stand” set off demands for revenge
among Americans
• Wounded Knee (1890): The U.S. army was
ordered to stop Sioux “ghost dances” & machine
gunned 200 men, women, & children
• Black soldiers in the U.S. army called “buffalo
soldiers” were used to fend off Indian attacks in
the West
The End of Tribal Life
• In 1871, the U.S. adopted its 4th Indian
policy: Assimilation
–U.S. citizenship was offered to all
Indians who farmed, lived away from
their tribe & “adopted the habits of
civilized life”
–Dawes Severalty Act in 1887 offered
farms (160 acres to families & 80 to
men) & the protection of U.S. laws
The End of Tribal Life
• The final blow to Indian culture came
with annihilation of buffalo:
–Began with the construction of the
transcontinental RR in 1860s
–From 1872 to 1874, 3 million
buffalo were killed each year
The Final Fling
• In 1889, Congress responded to demands to
open the Oklahoma Territory to white
• On April 22, 1889, about 100,000 “Boomers”
& “Sooners” flooded into the last “Indian
– White migrants claimed 2 million acres in
Oklahoma homesteads
– Moved out Creeks & Seminoles
Lost by
Native Americans
Conclusions: The End of the Frontier
• By 1890, the western frontier ended
–Miners, ranchers, & cowboys flooded
West at the expense of Indians who
were restricted to smaller & smaller
–Westerners were commercially
connected to Eastern markets but
would grow increasingly frustrated by
the economic & political concentration
of power in the East
The Myth of the Wild West
Horatio Alger
• 1987 FRQ #4: “Popular
fascination with the
cowboy, the pioneer, and
the stories of Horatio Alger
in the period 1870-1915
reflected Americans’
uneasiness over the
transition from an agrarian
to an industrial society.”
Assess the validity of this
Frederick Jackson Turner
• The Significance of the
Frontier in American History
• Frontier Thesis
• Spirit and success of the US
was tied to westward
• Evolutionary Model
• Unique and Rugged
American identity
• American Exceptionalism?
The Costs of Expansion
• The impact of territorial expansion:
– Historian Fredrick Jackson Turner noted in
the 1890s that expansion shaped
Americans into an adventurous, optimistic,
& democratic people
– But, expansion created sectional conflicts
between the North & South, especially
over slavery
• Essential Question:
–What economic, political, &
migratory factors led to the end
of the western frontier by

Chapter 18: Conquest and Survival of the West, 1860