The Comstock Lode was found in 1859. It was one of the richest gold and silver mines in the world.The 1860’s saw thousands of prospectors (people looking for gold) . Many came from other countries like Germany, Ireland, Mexico and especially China.
Most of the prospectors who went west were men. Towns sprung up near mines. These mining towns turned into ghost towns after everything from the mine was taken.Miners polluted clear mountain streams, cut down forests, and pushed Native Americans off of their lands. Foreign miners were treated poorly.Mexicans and Chinese were not treated the same as other people. A Ghost Town in the West
Horses, mules, and stagecoaches could not bring the supplies needed by miners and prospectors in the West.Railroad companies competed to reach the West. Congress had given railroad companies a square mile of land next to each mile of track the company laid.Native Americans were ignored by railroad companies and by Congress.
Starting in 1863, two companies began work to build a transcontinental railroad, a railroad that would stretch from coast to coast (East to West). The Union Pacific began building west from Omaha, Nebraska, while the Central Pacific began building in Sacramento, California, building east. Both companies used immigrant labor. Many workers were killed in the difficult conditions while building the transcontinental railroad. Some days the companies were only able to move a few inches.
The two companies’ railroads met at Promontory Point, Utah. On May 10, 1869, a golden railroad spike was hammered into the ground where the two tracks met.
Many more railroads helped to link East to West. Towns grew next to railroads to help people get across the country.Because of the quick growth, territories of the West began to apply for statehood. NV in 1864, CO in 1876, ND, SD, MT, WA all in 1889, ID and WY in 1890.
In the second half of the 19th Century, ranchers and farmers began to cross through the Great Plains.With the development of the railroad, ranchers began to round up all of the loose longhorncattle roaming the Plains. This was a new source of meat that could be sent to markets in the East.
Ranchers from Texas rounded up the longhorns and marched them to Kansas and Missouri, to be sent to the East by train. The best known trail for driving cattle was the Chisholm Trail. Many American cowhands learned how to drivecattle, rope, and ride from the Spanish vaqueros. These were ranchers who came from California and Mexico.Vaqueros were mostly Mexican, but also Native and African American.
Cowhands and vaqueros were on the trail for a long time. Thousands of longhorn could be spooked easily with a gunshot or by a storm. Rivers were tough to cross because it scared the animals. Cattle thieves tried to steal animals away from ranchers on the trail.Cattle towns sprung up at the end of the trail like Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas. Thesetowns were a bit rough due to the need for cowhands and vaqueros to unwind after their hard work.
Throughout the 1870’s cattle ranching became bigger and bigger. Ranchers would let their cattle roam freely. A couple times a year they would round them up to brand (label) the newly born calves. Sheep ranching became popular too, which angered and made cattle ranching tougher. The sheep ate the grass all the way to the ground, making it hard for longhorn to eat. Farming started to replace ranching in the late 1800’s, partially due to the invention of barbed wire fencing.
The Homestead Act in 1862 gave land to anyone who would agree to stay and farm it for five years. This was a way for the government to populate the Great Plains. 500,000 people moved to the Great Plains as homesteaders by 1900’s.A large group of African Americans, known as the exodusters, moved to Kansas in 1879. These people built houses out of sod and earth due to the lack of wood. The sodbusters used the seed drill, reaper, and binder helped to grow crops on the Plains.
Rain was a constant problem. If crops didn’t have water they died. Grasses also dried up and could catch on fire much easier without rain. Grasshoppers would come in the summer, eating crops. Winter was extremely tough due to nothing to break icy winds across the Plains.
Women were in charge of maintaining the household, as well as educating and tending to the sick in their family as well as others.
As more and more people moved to the Plains, the last big rush to claim land was in Oklahoma.In 1889, 100,000 settlers readied themselves to cross into Oklahoma to claim land. Somehowever snuck across the border before they were supposed to claim land. These people became known as “Sooners.”The frontier that had existed no longer did by 1890, the Great Plains had been populated by hundreds of thousands of people.
There were many Native American nations living in the Great Plains. Each nation had its own culture, language, and beliefs. Plains Indian tribes practiced their own organized religions.The different tribes were able to communicate with each other through sign language.
Native Americans used to live in more permanent structures and villages, hunting the buffalo and other animals on foot.In the 1600’s, the Plains Indians began to tame the horse, which had made its way here with help from the Spanish starting in the 1500’s. By the 1700’s, the Plains Indians became hunters on horseback, and began to live in tepees and other moveable structures.
The Plains Indians way of life revolved around the movements and habits of the buffalo. The buffalo used to travel in herds of as many as 4 million in the summer months. The Plains Indians would follow the buffalo, breaking apart in the winter and regrouping in large groups in the summer.People would share their resources within the small groups during the winter time.Native American groups would sometimes work together to herd buffalo into corrals. After they did this, they would slaughter the animals, and dry the meat into jerky.
The buffalo was extremely important to the Plains Indians. They used the buffalo for: FOOD CLOTHING SHELTER
The role of women in Plains Indian tribes was to oversee and manage the home.Women made clothing, tepees, and tools. The making of weapons was left for the men to handle. Some women hunted in some tribes, and others were allowed to make important tribal decisions due to their wisdom.Women were recognized for making sure the tribe and its well-being were taken care of.
The summer months are when tribes met and lived together. Many of them would hunt and play games together.Summer months allowed for councils to be held. These councils allowed for discussion of tribal and national issues, as well as a chance for tribal doctors to handle the health of their fellow tribe members. The Sun Dance was a religious ceremony and an important tradition. It was to thank the Native American Great Spirit when the tribe was in peril. This was a 4 day ceremony that many people would attend when it was held.
The Great Plains was thought to be a “Great American Desert” in the early 1800’s. As time went on, people began to realize it was possible to grow crops. This information caused settlers to slowly move onto the Great Plains.As more and more settlers began to move to the Great Plains, the Native Americans began to realize that their lands and ways of life were in jeopardy.
In 1851, the officials from the federal government met with Native Americans near Fort Laramie, in Wyoming.In exchange for staying on a limited amount of land, Native Americans were promised tools, animals, and other goods. Federal officials said that this land would he the Native Americans’ “as long as the waters run and the grass shall grow.” The Fort Laramie Treaty made these agreements official.
In 1858, gold was discovered at Pike’s Peak in Colorado, land which had been promised to the Cheyenne Indians. In the 1860’s, the federal government forced Native Americans into a new treaty, which gave up land around Pikes Peak so that miners could start looking for gold. The Native Americans were angry with this new treaty. They refused to accept it. In response, they began to attack trains, homes, miners, and soldiers.
Colonel John Chivington was a U.S. Army officer who led a group of men into a Cheyenne village who were not fighting or attacking the settlers. Chivington ignored a white flag or surrender, saying that “I have come to kill Indians." 150 men, women, and children were killed. The Native Americans were outraged and wars began to spring up all over the Great Plains.
The federal government wanted peace with the Native Americans to ensure the safety of miners and railroad builders. One attempt for peace was to try to get Native American groups to try to imitate the white man by settling down and practicing agriculture. Another new treaty moved tribes like the Kiowa, Comanche, and Arapaho to Oklahoma. They were not farmers and had trouble in the poor soil there. Other Native Americans were sent to South Dakota to live on reservations.
In 1874, prospectors found gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which was home of the Lakota tribe. The Lakota, led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, began to resist and fight the settlers and miners who came to their land. Colonel George Armstrong Custer was given the task of restoring order and getting the Lakota under control.
Custer tracked the Lakota. He was told of a camp with Cheyenne and Lakota Indians that greatly outnumbered Custer and his men. Custer and his 223 men did not wait for reinforcements. Custer and his men went to battle with Crazy Horse and his warriors. Custer was the last of the soldiers to be standing, but in the end he was killed as well. The conflict became known as the Battle of Little Bighorn.
The Plains Indians began to suffer because of the intense hunting and killing of the buffalo. Hunters killed the buffalo as the railroad came through to feed the workers.Buffalo hunting also became a way to be entertained. People would hunt buffalo from trains.Buffalo hide blankets also became popular. 2-3 million were being killed a year. There were only a few hundred buffalo left by 1900.
In an attempt to get back their old ways, the Native Americans began to appeal to their Great Spirit. A mysterious Indian known as Wovoka began to tell people of his visions of the future.He said a great flood would come and wash away the white man. The buffalo would come back and life would return to normal. Wovoka introduced the Ghost Dance, a dance designed to bring back the spirits of the buffalo and lost family and friends. Settlers were worried by the dancing, and thought it might lead to the Native Americans becoming more aggressive. Eventually the government outlawed the Ghost Dance.
Sitting Bull was blamed for spreading the Ghost Dance, and was killed while on his reservation. Anger over his death led the Lakota to flee from their reservations. The Army chased them to Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota.The Lakota surrendered and began to give up their weapons. Someone however fired a shot, causing the U.S. troops to open fire. 300 Lakota and 30 soldiers were killed. The Lakota were demoralized and the Ghost Dance and Indian Wars came to an end.
Throughout the 1800’s more and more Native Americans were pushed onto reservations. People began to try to help the Native Americans, but Congress and the federal government tried again to make the Native Americans more like white people. The Dawes Act called for Native Americans to become farmers, and live on farms like a white family did. Native Americans did not understand the idea of owning and dividing up land. They thought they should be able to hunt and ride as they pleased over any land.Native Americans sold their land for next to nothing because of their failure to understand what owning land meant.On the reservations, Native Americans had to depend on the supplies they were given bythe federal government, because they could no longer hunt. Their leaders had no power because the government appointed people to make decisions for the tribe.
In the late 1800’s, farmers were earning less and less for their crops. Sharecroppers who had borrowed money were unable to pay their debts. After the Civil War, farmers of the Plains and the West began to work together. They formed the National Grange in 1867.The Grange tried to work together to increase profits from selling crops, as well as work with the railroads to lower shipping prices. Farmers also formed cooperatives to help buy seeds and tools wholesale. All of the efforts of the Grangers failed to get farmers out of debt. The Farmer’s Alliance was another group who tried to help organize farmers and maketheir lives better. This group also include factory workers who were not happy with their treatment by factory owners.
In 1891, farmers and labor unions joined together to form the Populist Party. These groups wanted help with falling farm prices and better working conditions.The Populists wanted silver to be mined and coined in the West to increase the supply of money. They called for “Free Silver,” hoping that more money in supply would make it easier to pay for goods.The Populists gained support throughout the 1890’s. In 1896, William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president by the Democratic Party. He would be defeated by William McKinley.The Populists gained support throughout the 1890’s. In 1896, William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president by the Democratic Party. He would be defeated by William McKinley. McKinley had the support of the East and Bryan the support of the South and West. The Populist Party faded as it was unofficially absorbed by the Democratic Party.
The United States celebrated its 100 birthday in 1876 by holding an exhibition in Philadelphia. By 1900, American industry was the best in the world. The railroad was one of the most important features of American industry.
After the Civil War, the true power of the railroad was realized. They could move people, equipment, and supplies much more quickly. Early railroad tracks were short in length and they weren’t meant to be connected to each other.In the South, railroads were different gauges, or widths. This meant that tracks could not be connected because only certain trains were designed to run on them.When the South decided to use the northerngauge, 13,000 miles or track had to be fixed.
After all the railroads were the same width, they were formed into a network. A cross country trip took 6 days now instead of 6 months. Railroad companies began to consolidate, or form larger companies.Railroad companies began to consolidate under railroad barons such as Cornelius Vanderbilt. He bought out railroad companies throughout the East and Great Lakes areas.
Three new transcontinental railroads spanned the nation between 1869 and 1893.The introduction of time zones was due to the formation of national railroad networks.
In the West, there were fewer people. This meant that railroads had to compete for their business. Large customers were given rebates, discounts meant to keep their business.Many companies were forced out because they couldn’t keep prices low. Some areas decided to pool business to keep prices even and competition fair. The Populist Party fought against pooling because it kept prices too high for small farmers.
Railroads were a catalyst for industry. Steel, coal, and lumber were needed in huge amounts to produce track and locomotives. This helped to strengthen the economy. Thousands of people found jobs working on or for the railroad. Just like before, towns and businesses sprung up where railroads were built.
The telegraph had been in place since the Civil War.In 1866, an underwater telegraph cable was laid that allowed for instant communication between America and Europe. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, testing it for the first time in 1876. The Bell telephone company formed in 1877.
Thomas Edison conducted most of his research from his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey.Edison devised a system to refine his ideasby using teams of people to research into them. While at Menlo Park, Edison invented the light bulb, the phonograph, the motionpicture projector, and the storage batteries.Edison built the first electric power plant in New York City in 1882. More and more plants would be built to electrify cities.
Elijah McCoy created a device that oiled engines automatically. Granville T. Woods found a way to send telegraph messages between moving railroad trains.Jan Matzeliger created a machine that could make shoes as opposed to making them by hand.
Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter.George Eastman created the Kodak cameraGustavus Swift used refridgerated railroad cars to help keep meat better.
Henry Ford revolutionized the auto industry by introducing the assembly line.The assembly line led to mass production, making production increase and cost decrease.
The 1890’s saw the invention of flight by two brothers: Orville and Wilbur Wright.The brothers were bicycle mechanics who began to experiment with flying machines. In December of 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, their airplane flew 120 feet. Plane building and design began to take off in the years after the Wright’s design.
The expansion of railroads helped the steel industry to grow.Steel was much better than iron for using railroads because it didn’t rust as easy. Steel was tough to make after the Civil War and it wasn’t cheap.A new process, called the Bessemer Process, helped steel to be produced cheaper.
Steel Mills became more and more common throughout the Midwest. Pittsburgh became the steelmaking capital of the nation.Steel mills strengthened the economy, but also caused pollution in the form of soot and smoke, as well as water pollution.
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant who became the most important man in the steel industry. Carnegie worked in textile mills, as a telegraph operator, and managed railroads before he got into the steel industry. Carnegie began to use the Bessemer Process and his former friends in the railroad industry to sell steel.Carnegie started making huge amounts of money, and began to buy out hisrivals. He bought steel mills whenever he could.
Carnegie used the money he made to also buy other types of businesses.He began to buy the mines that produced iron ore, and also the companies that he used to ship his steel.The process of buying up all of the businesses that are required to change a raw material into a finished product is called vertical integration. All of his businesses were formed into the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892.
Carnegie was a well-known and famous philanthropist.He gave millions of dollars to help build libraries throughout the country. Carnegie sold his steel company is 1901 and retired.
Small factories began to disappear as larger factories made products for consumers and spread them with the railroads.Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck used catalogs to sell to people all over the nation.
Factories that were growing needed money to help pay for their expansion. Investment money is called capital. Capital was used to help run businesses as they got bigger.Many expanding businesses became corporations, businesses that are owned by investors.Corporations sell stock or shares in the company to people who then become part owner. Stockholders who invest money are then paid dividends, or a share of the profit of a company.
Banks loaned million of dollars to corporations.These loaned helped businesses grow, but also made money for banks who collected interest. J.P. Morgan was the most widely known banker at the end of the 19 th Century.Morgan bought up companies and eventually put together a steel industry (including Carnegie Steel) called the United States Steel Company. It was worth over a billion dollars.
Oil was discovered in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Oil was used to produce kerosene, a type of fuel.John D. Rockefeller invested in oil refineries, and used his profits to buy competing refineries. Rockefeller and his refineries formed the Standard Oil Company.Rockefeller pushed other companies out of business, and negotiated for good shipping rates with railroad companies.
Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Trust in 1882. Trusts are groups of corporations run by a single board of directors.After this trust formed, the oil industry has zero competition. Rockefeller had formed a monopoly of the oil industry. Rockefeller controlled 95% of oil companies, leaving little to no competition.
Some people thought that the free enterprise system was being abused by trusts and monopolies.Trusts and monopolies leave little to no room forcompetition. Prices could be raised without any type of repercussions. Men like Carnegie and Rockefeller obviously were in support of trusts because they ran big businesses. The government eventually would pass theSherman Antitrust Act in 1890, which banned the formation of trusts and monopolies. It was not very effective however.
There were lots of factory jobs in the late 1800’s. Workers were paid poorly, worked long hours, and were constantly in danger of being hurt. Child labor laws were ignored, and young children worked long hours too. Eventually, workers organized began to form unions to have their voices heard and change their working conditions. The Knights of Labor and the AmericanFederation of Labor began to represent workers and negotiate for better conditions.Making deals as a large group is called collective bargaining.
Between 1866 and 1915, more than 25 million immigrants came to the U.S. Push factors are reasons people left their homes. Pull factors are reasons that attracted them to the U.S.
As population grew, land was tougher to come by. Farmers needed to find new places to farm. Farming machines replaced farm labor. Russians who criticized the government left or faced jail or exile. Jews were persecuted in Russia as well. A revolution in Mexico also caused people to come to the United States. Poverty in China led to Chinese coming to America.
Freedom and the chance for a better life pulled people to America.The need for more workers in American factories allowed people to be brought to America. Factories sent people overseas to hire workers.
Conditions for poor immigrants coming to America were horrible. People were packed in tight to get as many on board as they could.The spaces used for the poor immigrants housed animals and cargo when the ships went back to Europe. Disease was easily transmitted between people who had to be so close to each other. People coming from Europe normally ended up in New York City.
Most immigrants through the 1800’s came from Northern and Western Europe. They were English, Irish, German, and Scandinavian. These people were the “old immigrants.”
Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans began to come to America in the late 1880’s. These people were Italian, Russian, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. These peoples had different languages and religions than the old immigrants. Many didn’t speak English.
Ellis Island received most immigrants from Europe.Immigrants had to wait to be examined. They were examined to see if they were in good health. Names were changed and shortened at this time.
Asian immigrants had a tougher time. They were processed in San Francisco at Angel Island.Asian immigration was not looked upon favorably, and Asians were delayed much longer when they arrived.
Many people stayed in the cities. These immigrants would form ethnic neighborhoods. These people who use their commoncultures to form their own neighborhoods. This helped immigrants to cope with the feelings of being away from their homelands.Some however had trouble getting rid ofold customs and had trouble assimilating into American culture. Children were much more able to assimilate into American culture. They learned the language better and helpedtheir families to pick up American culture. Many had trouble finding jobs.
Many people began to dislike the waves of immigrants coming into the country.Americans felt that these new people would not truly assimilate into American culture. American laborers didn’t like the fact thatimmigrants would work jobs for less money. On the west coast, nativists tried to limit Chinese immigration.Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. Chinese were unable to come to the U.S. for ten years. Congress would also pass another bill that would keep out people who could not readtheir own language. It finally became law in 1917, over many presidential vetoes.
The U.S. was seeing more and more people move into the cities.Industrialization and immigration helped cities swell to large populations, with lots of different ethnic groups living in each. The poorest people lived in tenements, where lots of people were crammed together. These quickly turned into slums.A large middle class of professionals like doctors, lawyers, and office workers was also forming in the cities. They lived in the outskirts of cities in the suburbs. The wealthiest people lived in large homes and mansions. They were not typical of the time.The end of the 1800’s was called “The Gilded Age” because the wealthiest people seemed to be doing great, while many others were doing so poorly. “Gilded” means covered in a thin layer of gold. As cities spread out, space began to be limited. Skyscrapers were built “up, not out,” so that space could be saved.
After the Civil War, education began to expand. More and more high schools were built throughout the U.S. Many kids still did not go to school, but instead worked.Education began to focus on more than just remembering information, but instead teaching kids to be better people and responsible adults. States were given federal land to sell to build colleges. These land-grant colleges allowed African Americans to attend.
Booker T. Washington was a former slave who had taught himself to read and write. He founded the Tuskegee Institute in 1881. This was a place for higher education for African Americans.Washington would be a leading figure in thestruggle for equal rights and treatment for African Americans. Many presidents would seek his advice. George Washington Carver was a scientist who worked at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Carver worked to use crops in new ways.Carver experimented with the peanut, coming up with new ways to use it.
As schools improved and expanded over the U.S., more people began to read.Libraries sprung up through donations of men like Andrew Carnegie and help from the federal government. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was one of the most famous authors of the time.William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer both created famous newspapers that appealed to readers. Their stories exaggerated details to attract readers in a method called yellow journalism.
Since more and more people were working jobs in the cities, they had more free time. People began to attend and become fans of sports teams.The National and American Leagues (baseball) formed in the early 1900’s, with the first World Series being played in 1903. Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in the 1890’s. College football became popular around the turn of the 20 th Century as well. People also enjoyed variety shows known as Vaudeville, with acts having to do with singing, dancing, comedy, and illusion. Jazz and ragtime music also became popular due to the talent of many African American composers in New Orleans