Republican dominated Congress and made vigorous use of federal power, launching the
transcontinental rail project, developing a new national baking system, and passing the
Homestead Act. Congress also raised the Protective tariff on a range of manufactured goods,
from textile to steel, and on some agricultural products. The massive economic depression that
began in 1873 set limits on Republicans’ ambitious economic program, just as it hindered the
Reconstruction policies in the South.
Railroads development in the United States began well before the Civil War, with the first
locomotives arriving before Britain in the early 1830’s. The U.S. chose the private approach
when building railroads and its investment but the federal government provided essential
incentives in the form of loans, subsidies and land grants. With it, railroads enjoyed an
enormous boom and by 1900, virtually no corner of the country lacked rail service.
a) The Civil War had left the Union with staggering debt of $2.8 billion. Tariff
income, which totaled $2.1 billion during the 1800’s alone, erased that best in
two decades and then generated huge surpluses.
b) Protective tariffs play a powerful role in economic growth. Along with other
policies that promoted development, they helped transform the United States
from a largely agricultural country into a world of Industrial power.
c) Protective tariffs helped foster trust, corporations that dominated whole sector
of the economy and wielded monopoly or near-monopoly power.
a) The rise of railroads and other giant corporations prompted many proposals for
government regulation of these monster enterprises.
b) In Munn V. Illinois (1877), the United States Supreme Court acknowledged that
states did have the right to regulate those businesses that served important
c) Even the US took control over New Mexico and Arizona after the Mexican War
(1846-1846), there was a slow economic progress.
d) Between 1891 and 1904, the court invalidated most traditional land claims.
Mexican Americans lost about 61% of the contested lands on which the court
ruled. Much of the land was sold or appropriated through legal machinations like
those of a notorious group of politicians and Santa Fe Ring lawyers.
a) Great Britain had long been on Gold Standard. During the 1870 and 1880, the
United States, Germany, France, Norway, and other countries also converted to
b) The United States switched to Gold Standards in part because treasury officials
and financiers were watching developments out West. It directed the US Treasury
to case mining silver dollars, and over a six-year period, to retire the Greenbacks
that had been issued during the Civil War and replace them with notes from an
expanded system of national Banks.
c) Railroads and telegraphs tied the nation together. US manufacturers amassed
staggering amounts of capita; and built corporations of national and even global
a) Britain agreed afterwards to submit to arbitration and pay the United States
$15.5 million in damage. Many Americans expected more British or Spanish
territories to all easily into the Union’s lap. Senator Charles Sumner initially
proposed that Britain settle the Alabama claims by handing over Canada.
b) The United States established dominant presence in the Hawaiian Islands, where
US whalers and merchants ships stopped for food and repairs. Both the US Navy
and private shippers wanted more refueling points in the Caribbean’ and Pacific.
c) Americans wanted refueling station in Japan because supposedly international
trade would extend what one missionary called “commerce, knowledge, and
Christianity, with their multiplied blessings”. In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry
succeeded in getting Japanese officials to sign a treaty at Kanagawa, allowing US
Ships to refuel in two parts. By 1858, American and Japan had commerce trade,
and a US consul took up residence in the Japanese capital, Edo or Tokyo.
d) On May 5th
, 1867, Mexico overthrew the French invaders and executed Emperor
Maximilian, which is now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. So, Mexico without and
Emperor backing them up, t lay open to an economic design of its increasingly
powerful Northern neighbor.
e) William Sewards was the Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, under Lincoln and
Johnson, but was Lincoln main rival for the presidential nomination in 1860.
Seward urged the Senate to purchase sites in both the Pacific and the Caribbean
for naval bases and refueling stations. He dispatched US Navy vessels to join
those of Britain, France, and the Netherlands. He also, predicted that the United
States would one day claim the Philippines and build a canal across the Isthmus
of Panama. However, he achieved only two significant victories: in 1868, he
secured congressional approval for the Burlingame Treaty with China, which
guaranteed the rights of the US missionaries in China and set of official terms for
emigration of Chinese laborer. Finally, he negotiated the purchase of Alaska from
f) The United States laid foundations for its military and economic ascendance
closer to home, through final conquest of the American West.
Republicans sought to attract families to the West through the Homestead Act, which gave free
public plots of 160 acres each to applicants who occupied and improved them. They also hoped
that hardworking families would cross the Mississippi River, claim homestead, and help build up
a continental empire. In 1862, Congress created the federal Department of Agriculture to
conduct research and distribute experimental seeds and advice to farmers. In that same year,
the Congress set aside 140 million acres of federal land to be sold by the states to raise money
for public universities through the Merrill Act. Moreover, European investors sank millions into
mines and cattle operations. Railroads overlapped the West, and home steaders and their
families filed land claims by the thousands. The United States began to fully exploit its
a) In the 1870’shunters decreased the amount of animals in the US territories.
b) In 1865, the Missouri Pacific Railroad reached Sedalia, Missouri, far enough West
to be accessible as the Confederacy surrendered and Texas reentered the Union.
Texas ranchers inaugurated the Long Drive, hiring cowboys to her cattle
hundreds of miles North to the new rail lines, which extended to Kansas.
c) North of Texas, the grass was free and open lands drew investors and adventures
eager for a taste of the West. By the early 1800’s, as many as 7.5 million cattle
were destroying the native grasses and trampling water holes on the plains,
which created long-term ecological destruction. However, thanks to new
strategies, cattle ranching survived and became part of the integrated national
economy. Ranchers had abandoned the Long Drive as railroads reached Texas in
d) Hispanic shepherds from New Mexico also brought sheep to feed on the mesquite
and prickly pear displaced native grasses.
e) In the late 1850’s, as easy picking in the California gold rush reduced, prospectors
had spread across the West in hoped of striking in rich somewhere else. They
found gold at many sites, including Nevada, the Colorado Rockies, and in South
Dakota’s Black Hills. Almost at the same time, booming California created a
market for timber and produce from the Pacific Northwest. By the 1880’s,
Portland and Seattle flowered into populous and important commercial centers.
Powerful interest worked hard to overcome the popular idea that the grassland was the Great
American Desert. Additionally, newcomers found the soil beneath the native prairie grasses
deep and fertile. European immigrants brought strains of hard-kernel wheat that tolerated the
extreme temperatures of the plains. When severe depression hot Northern Europe in the 1870’s,
Norwegians and Swedes joined German emigrants in large numbers. At the peak of “American
fever” in 1882, more than 105,000 Scandinavians left for the United States. Swedish and
Norwegian became the primary languages in parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas.in 1879, some
blacks communities chose to leave the South in a quest to scape poverty and white vengeance.
They called themselves Exodusters and in the 1800 census reported 40,000 blacks in Kansas,
which was the greatest population than in any other state.
a) Women and children played critical role in running farms, which was the reason
why farmers help a special place in republicans’ vision of a transformed nation.
b) Women were committed to home, motherhood, and female Christian charity
c) Amid the upheaval of Reconstruction, Polygamy and women’s voting rights
became intertwined political controversies
d) Wyoming Territory was the first to grants women full voting rights, in 1869.
Western women could run for public office and helping government posts more
often than in any other region in the country. Kansas women took the lead:
Argonia in 1887, six towns elected women as mayors, and Oskaloosa boasted the
nation’s first all-female city council.
In the late 19th
century because of the technological innovation and global expansion of export
agriculture, farm products flooded world markets. In some years during the 1880’s, the price of
corn fell so low that Iowa farmers found it more cost-effective to keep their r harvest and burn
it in their stoves winter heat than to sell it. Farers faced another problem: they were individual
businessmen in a marketplace that rewarded economic of scale. By the late 1880’s, some
recently settled lands emptied as homesteaders fled in defeat.
Around the 20th
century, about half the nation’s cattle and sheep, one-third of its cereal crop,
and nearly three-fifths of its wheat came from the Great Plains. In the 20th
renowned breadbasket was revealed to be one of the biggest agricultural disasters in American
John Wesley Powell, veteran of the Battle of Shiloh, predicted this disaster. Powell, employed by
the US Geological Survey, led celebrated expeditions in the West. He told the Congress bluntly
that individual 160-acre homesteads would not work in dry regions. He proposed that the
government develop the West’s water resources, building dams and canals and organizing
landowners into local districts. Even though he was right, the Congress rejected his plan.
a) As early as 1864, congress gave 10 square miles of the Yosemite Valley to
California for “public use, resort, and recreation”.
b) Congress responded in 1872 by setting aside 2 million acres of Wyoming’s
Yellowstone Valley as a public park. Yellowstone and Yosemite became symbols
of national pride, grander than Europe’s castles. The creation was an early,
important step towards public ethnic of preservation and respect for land and
c) The US Army was dispatched to take charge of Yellowstone; only in the 1890’s
and early 1900’s did consistent management policies emerge.
d) In 1877, the federal government forcibly removed the Nez Perce tribe from their
ancestral land in Idaho and tried to flee to Canada. For 13 days, Nez Perce men
raided the valley for supplies. So it would be protected, in 1867 and 1868 treaties
of the US signed that Indians could hunt safely but protect the wildlife.
Congress reserved the Great Pains for nomadic people way before the Civil War. But in the era
of railroads, steel plows, and Union victory, Americans suddenly had the power and desire to
incorporate the whole plains.
a) In August 1862, the attention of most Unionists and Confederates was riveted on
Generals George McClellan’s failed campaign on the Chesapeake Bay Peninsula.
In 1858, the Dakota Sioux agreed to settle on a strip of and reserved for them by
the government, in exchange for receiving regular payments and supplies. But
Indian agents, contractors, and even Minnesota’s territorial governor pocketed
most of the funds meant for the Dakotas.
b) Corruption was so egregious that one leading Minnesota clergyman, Episcopal
bishop Henry Whipple predicted its outcome. He was right. In the summer of
1862, a decade of anger boiled over. In a surprise attack, Dakota warriors fanned
out through the Minnesota countryside, killing settlers and burning farms. A
hastily appointed military court sentence 307 Dakotas to death. Dakotas were
hanged just after Christmas 1862 in the largest mass execution in US history.
c) The Civil War had created two dangerous conditions in the West: the Union Army
fighting the Confederacy and fearful westerner found that when they chose to,
they could fight Indians with minimal federal oversight.
Colorado militia leader John M. Chivington, an aspiring politician, determined to
quell public anxiety and make his own career. In May 1864, Chivington’s militia
attacked a Cheyenne encampment, shooting down a chief who had made peace
terms with the United States. For this, on November 29, 1864, Chivington’s
Colorado militia attacked Sand creek in astern Colorado while most of the
warriors were out hunting.
General William Tecumseh Sherman swore to defeat the Plain Indians.
In 1868, the Sioux, led by Oglala band under Chief Red Cloud, told a peace
commission they would not sign any treaty unless the United States pledged to
abandon all its forts along the Bozeman Trail.
Ulysses S. Grant inherited an Indian policy in disarray when he entered the White House. There
was a mass killing of friendly Indians in January 1870, this time on the Marias River in Montana,
by an army detachment that shot and burned to death 173 Piegan (Blackfoot) women and
children. Reformers aimed to destroy native languages, culture, and religions.
a) Assimilation (adoption of white rays) was difficult when children lived at home,
agents and missionaries worked hard to enroll children in off-reservation schools.
b) Indians were dislocated and placed somewhere else where they were easily
exposed to foreign diseases and infections. In the meantime, Quaker,
Presbyterian, and Methodist reformers fought nasty turf battle among
themselves and with Catholic missionaries.
c) In 1871, the House of Representatives passed a bill to abolish all treaty making
with Indians. Eventually, the US Supreme Court ruled in Lone Wolf V. Hitchcock
(1903) that Congress could make whatever Indian policies it chose, ignoring all
existing treaties. There ruling remained in force until the New Deal of the 1930’s.
a) Reformers made another effort to assimilate them through the Dawes Severalty
Act passed in 1887. This act was the dreams of Senator Henry L. Dawes of
Massachusetts and leader of the Indian Rights Association. He hoped to break up
tribal landholding and give Indians severalty by dividing reservations into
b) The Dawes Act was a disaster. The bureau of India Affairs (BIA) implemented the
law carelessly. Before the Dawes Act, American Indians had held more than 155
million acres of land across the United States: by 1900, this had dropped to 77
c) By the time of the Indian Reorganization, native people had also lost 66% of their
individually chosen lands through fraud, BIA mismanagement, and pressure to
Americans by the mid-1870s believed that they had solved the “Indian Problem” in the lands
West of the Mississippi. The Navajo (or Diné) people, exiled under horrific conditions during the
Civil War, were permitted to reoccupy their traditional homeland and abandoned further
a) In 1984, the Lakotas faced a direct provocation. General Armstrong Custer led an
expedition into South Dakota’s lack hill and loudly proclaimed the discovery of
gold. The United States, reneging on its 1868 treaty, pressured Sioux leaders to
sell the Black Hills, but the chief said no. however, the government demanded in
1876 that all Sioux at the federal agencies.
b) Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahos, and refused to report and joined SittingBull.
c) On June 25-26, General Custer had led 210 men of the Seventh Cavalry in an ill-
considered assault on Sitting Bull’s camp beside the Little big Horn River in
d) Long after American forgot the massacre of Cheyenne women and children at
Sand creek and Piegan people on the Marias River, prints of the Battle of Little
Big Horn hung in bathrooms across the country.
a) Indian people had to try and fit in with the white by attending to school, learning
English and dressing like them, so they wouldn’t be excluded from places and
highlighted as different.
b) The Ghost dance movement in the late 1880’s fostered the hope that native
people could, through sacred dances, resurrect the bison and create a great
storm that would drive whites back across the Atlantic. The ghost dance drew
significant Christina elements as well as native ones.
c) However, the outcome of the Ghost dance movement led to lethal exertion of
authority by misunderstanding whites. When a group of Lakota Sioux Ghost
dancers left their South Dakota reservation after police there killed sitting Bill in
December 1890, they were pursued by the US Seventh Cavalry, in the fear that
further spread of the Ghost Dance would provoke war.
d) General William T. Sherman died in New York less than two months after the
Wounded Knee massacre.
e) At his death in 1891, the nation boasted forty-four states, in settled territory
stretching to the Pacific Coast.
f) The United States now resembled Britain and Germany as an industrial successor,
and its dynamic economy was drawing immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and
Eastern and Southern Europe to join those from African and Western Europe.