the end of the civil war, about 250,000 american indians
lived in the
*at first the american government tried to limit who could trade with the indians and settle in the west, but this was futile as the discovery of gold and a desire for land made people rush west. instead, indians were forced onto reservations, usually on poor land without sufficient access to buffalo and other game (much of which was hunted nearly to extinction by settlers and railroad builders).
page 163. where
were the largest reservations? (
the civil war, the sioux tried to fight against white
encroachment by attacking settlements in
1864, colorado militia under colonel john chivington
attacked a camp of
of the time, indians attacked small settlements or ambushed
small groups of soldiers.
the most famous exception was at the
*when the full might of the army was turned loose, the indians usually lost. after custer’s last stand, crazy horse and his men were forced to surrender, as they could not survive a winter at war.
1877, chief joseph led the nez perce on a march to the
canadian border, where they hoped to find freedom, after
they were told they would have to move to a smaller
were caught and sent to
the government decided that the only way the indians could
get along with settlers was if they settled down on farms
and lived as whites did.
this was known as assimilation and was eventually
promoted by the dawes act of 1887 (although the idea was not
new then). the
dawes act allowed indians off reservations and gave them 160
acres to farm—plenty of land back east, but not enough in
the west. indians
were also encouraged to attend schools like the
*many indians did not want to do this or to stay on their reservations, particularly as the indian agents who were supposed to help them were often corrupt.
last battle between indians and the us army was at
*some had moved west when gold, and later other minerals, were discovered (either to mine or to provide goods and services to the miners). this provided many jobs, but many of them were hard and unpleasant. runoff from the mines also tended to foul water that farmers and livestock depended on.
*other people did move west to farm. what government policy encouraged this? (homestead act offered 160 acres to any farmer who would dig a well, live there land 5 years, and build a road)
government also helped built the transcontinental railroad
between 1863 and 1869, linking
railroads created cow towns in the west (mostly in or near
*cowboys were needed to round up cattle for each drive as well, because until the 1880s, cattle roamed free in an open-range system, with only different brands burned into their hides to tell their owners apart. what ended the open-range system? (newly-invented barbed wire, demanded by farmers who wanted to protect their land; over-supply of beef in the 1880s also drove down prices until bad weather (freezing winters and drought in the summers) destroyed many ranches in the late 1880s)
*many ranchers disliked farmers, who they saw as taking up their land. they called them ‘sodbusters’ because many built their first houses out of sod piled up sort of like dirt igloos.
*cattle and sheep ruined farmers’ crops. sheep ate grass so close to the ground that no more grew for the cattle. farmers’ barbed wire cut up the open ranges that ranchers had enjoyed. mine runoff made water unfit to use. this often led to violence between different groups, sometimes known as range wars.
*by 1890 so many americans had moved into the
west that the census bureau announced that the frontier had
there were still vast open spaces, settlers could be found in
almost any part of the