How Miners and
the American West
Compromise of 1877
• The Presidential election of 1876 was Rutherford B. Hayes
(R) from Ohio vs. Samuel Tilden (D) from New York.
• On election day, 20 electoral votes were being disputed.
• An agreement was worked out in Congress that allowed
Hayes to become President.
• The agreement was that federal troops had to be removed
from the southern states ending Reconstruction.
• Who was going to protect the 13th (slavery), 14th
(citizenship), and 15th (voting) amendements for African
Americans in the South? Troops had done this before.
Growth of the Mining Industry…
• Remember the Gold Rush? 49ers?
• Large numbers of people were heading west
into unnamed territories in search of….
• Dolla dolla billz yalll!
The Comestock Lode
• In 1859 Henry Comstock staked a
claim in the Six-Mile Canyon in
• The sticky blue-gray mud was pure
• This discovery is referred to as the
• By 1864 enough people moved
into Nevada to make it our 36th
• Comstock Lode made more than
$230 million and helped finance
the Civil War.
From Comstock….TO VIRGINIA CITY!
• In just a few months more than 30,000 people
• Boomtowns - cities that popped up in the west
when gold, silver, or other minerals were found
San Francisco, 1851
How Gold and Silver made the West
• Several Colorado boomtowns became populated
due to the growth of mining.
2. Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak)
• Tombstone was a silver town in Arizona made
famous by Wyatt Earp.
• Silver town made famous by Wyatt Earp and the
“Showdown the OK Corrall”
• Prospecting….Men always came first…
• Towns would pop up without police….vigilance
• Next came women…laundarers, cooks, dancers, etc
Eventually the minerals are gone…
• 1930 --- Virginia City has only 500 people
• “Ghost towns” begin to pop up in the west
Miners: Main Idea
• Miners Main Idea: Mining for gold and silver
brought incredible numbers of Americans into the
Ranching and Cattle Drives
• Some Americans mined for gold and silver while
others invested in cattle.
• Cattle farming was a big business and so was cattle
• The cowboy was a professional cattle driver that
would take large numbers of cows from one
location to another.
• Cattle farming was a huge money market during the
Civil War due to the need to feed the soldiers from
Longhorn – from Spanish cattle breed allowed to
run wild and adapted to living on grass of Great Plains
and very little water
• Cows were left open range until it was time for the
drive – semi wild state
• Cattle Trails would start in Texas with 2,000 to 5,000
cows. Each cowboy need 3-4 horses per day.
• Balanced distance with food to sell cows for more.
• Cowboys would move the cows north into Kansas and
• The animals would then be loaded onto train cars and
shipped east to be slaughtered.
• The most famous cattle trail was the Chisholm Trail
which started in San Antonio and ended in Abilene
• It is estimated that between 1867 and 1871 about 1.5
million longhorns took the Chisholm Trail to Abilene.