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Essential Questions 1. What national issues emerged in the process of closing the western frontier? 2. Why does the West hold such an important place in the American imagination? 3. In what ways is the West romanticized in American culture? American westward expansion is idealized in Emanuel Leutze's famous painting Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way (1861). The title of the painting, from a 1726 poem by Bishop Berkeley, was a phrase often quoted in the era of Manifest Destiny, expressing a widely held belief that civilization had steadily moved westward throughout history. Farming the Plains The Main Idea The government promoted the settlement of the West, offering free or cheap land to those willing to put in the hard work of turning the land into productive farms. Reading Focus • What incentives encouraged farmers to settle in the West? • Which groups of people moved into the West, and why did they do so? • What new ways of farming evolved in the West? Incentives for Settlement Railroads Encourage Settlement Railroads reaped profits by selling some of their land to settlers. They placed ads to lure homesteaders to the West. The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 opened unassigned Indian land to settlers. Over 50,000 people took part in the rush to stake a claim on these 2 million acres of land. Closing of the Frontier In 1890 the Census Bureau issued a report, “there can hardly be said to be a frontier line.” Historian Frederick Jackson Turner stated in a famous essay that the existence of the frontier made the United States distinctive. Incentives for Settlement New Legislation Promotes Westward Expansion In 1862, Congress passed three acts to turn public lands into private property. 1. The Homestead Act gave 160 acres of land to heads of household. 2. The Pacific Railway Act gave land to the railroad companies to build lines. 3. The Morrill Act gave lands to states for colleges for agriculture and the mechanic arts. Incentives for Settlement The Homestead Act (1862): For a small fee, settlers could have 160 acres of land (1/4 mile) if they met the following conditions: 1. They were at least 21 years old OR the head of families 2. They were American citizens or immigrants filing for citizenship 3. They built a house of a certain minimum size on their claims and lives in it at least 6 months a year 4. They had to farm the land for 5 years in a row before claiming ownership Incentives for Settlement The Pacific Railways Acts (1862 & 1864): U.S. government gave large land grants to the Union Pacific & Central Pacific railroads Between 1850-1871: railroads received more than 175 million acres of public land (larger than the state of Texas) Significance: Railroads provides new avenues of migration into the American interior Made transportation of goods & people easier and faster Railroad Construction “The Big Four” Railroad Magnates Charles Crocker Collis Huntington Mark Hopkins Leland Stanford The Purpose of the First Transcontinental Railroad Purpose of the Transcontinental Railroad •The building of the railroad was motivated in part to bind the Union together during the strife of the American Civil War. •Link the Eastern half of the country with the Western half. •Provide a faster way to move people & goods across the nation The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad •Authorized by the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 and heavily backed by the federal government, it was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line and was one of the crowning achievements of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, completed four years after his death. •The building of the railway required enormous feats of engineering and labor in the crossing of plains and high mountains by the Union Pacific Railroad and, the two privately chartered federally backed Central Pacific Railroad enterprises that built the line westward and eastward respectively. Who Built the Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad? •The majority of the Union Pacific track was built by: •Irish laborers •Veterans of both the Union and Confederate armies •Mormons who wished to see the railroad pass through Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah. •Mostly Chinese built the Central Pacific track. Who Built the Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad? •Initially Chinese workers believed to be “too weak or fragile” to do this type of work. •Decision was made to hire as many as could be found in California (where most were gold miners or in service industries such as laundries and kitchens) •Many more workers were imported from China. •Most workers received between one and three dollars per day, but the workers from China received much less. •Eventually, they went on strike and gained a small increase in salary. Chinese Railroad Workers Chinese railroad workers transported dirt by the cartload to fill in this Secrettown Trestle in the Sierra Nevada Mountain. Chinese railroad workers perform their duties in the snow. Chinese Railroad Workers Chinese Street Doctor (Right) Similar to the physician depicted, Fong Dun Shing administered tothe Chinese laborers' needs. Hewas hired by railroad contractors, because the Chinese did not trust western doctors and medicine. Who Built the Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad? In addition to track laying (which employed approximately 25% of the labor force), the operation also required the efforts of hundreds of: •Blacksmiths •Carpenters •Engineers •Masons •Surveyors •Teamsters •Telegraphers •Cooks •Doctors •Interpreters The Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad •The First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States was built across North America in the 1860s, linking the railway network of the Eastern United States with California on the Pacific coast. •Ceremonially completed on May 10, 1869, at the famous "golden spike" event at Promontory Summit, Utah, it created a nation-wide mechanized transportation network that revolutionized the population and economy of the American West. •This network caused the wagon trains of previous decades to become obsolete, exchanging it for a modern transportation system. The Jupiter, which carried Leland Stanford (one of the "Big Four" owners of the Central Pacific) and other railway officials to the Golden Spike Ceremony. Promontory Point, UT (May 10, 1869) Route of the first American transcontinental railroad from Sacramento, California, to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Effects of the First Transcontinental Railroad Effects of the Transcontinental Railroad: •It substantially accelerated the populating of the West by white homesteaders, while contributing to the decline of the Native Americans in these regions. •It served as a vital link for trade, commerce and travel that joined the eastern and western halves of late 19th century United States. The Effects of the First Transcontinental Railroad Effects of the Transcontinental Railroad: •The transcontinental railroad quickly ended the romantic yet far slower and more hazardous Pony Express and stagecoach lines that had preceded it. •The subsequent march of "Manifest Destiny" and proliferation of the so-called "Iron Horse" across Native American land greatly accelerated the demise of Great Plains Indian culture. Incentives for Settlement The Morrill Land-Grant Act (1862): U.S. government gave state governments millions of acres of western lands States would sell land to raise money for the creation of “land grant” colleges that specialized in agriculture and the mechanical arts States also sold land to land speculators, people who bought large tracts of land who would later sell it at a higher price to make a profit Significance: U.S. government encourages development of new farming technology & the creation of colleges Agriculture colleges attracts settlers to the West Homesteads From Public Lands Frontier Settlements: 1870-1890 1887 Land Promotion Poster for the Dakota Territories Migrating West White settlers Middle-class businesspeople or farmers from the Mississippi Valley moved west. They could afford money for supplies and transportation. African American settlers Benjamin Singleton urged his own people to build communities. Some fled the violent South. Rumors of land in Kansas brought 15,000 Exodusters who also settled in Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. European settlers • Lured by economic opportunity, they came from Scandinavia, Ireland, Russia, and Germany. • They brought their farming experience with them. Chinese settlers • Initially came for the gold rush or to build railroads • They turned to farming, especially in California, establishing the fruit industry there. • Most Chinese were farm laborers because they were not allowed to own land. Europeans Flock to the American West Cheap land and new jobs attracted immigrants to the American West. • German Immigrants: • Irish, Italians, European Jews: – Arrived in the American West in last half of the 1850s – Sought land to farm – Built tight-knit communities from Texas to the upper Missouri River – Brought Lutheran religion and traditional emphasis of hard work •Scandinavian Lutherans: – Settled in concentrated communities – Initially settled in cities on the Pacific Coast – Gradually moved to the American interior – Took jobs in mining, farm labor, and ranching Settled in northern plains from Iowa to Minnesota to the Dakotas to pursue dairy farming Mexican & Chinese Immigrants Flock to the American West Cheap land and new jobs attracted immigrants to the American West. • Mexican Immigrants: – Settled in concentrated communities – Gradually moved to the American interior – Took jobs in mining, farm labor, and ranching, railroads – Mexicans & MexicanAmericans contributed to the growth of ranching – Met with racial prejudice & discrimination • Chinese Immigrants: – Settled in concentrated communities – Initially settled in cities on the Pacific Coast – Gradually moved to the American interior – Took jobs in mining, farm labor, and ranching, railroads – Met with racial prejudice & discrimination The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) • Following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, Americans pressured the U.S. government to limit immigration from China because: – Chinese laborers took jobs away from American workers – Belief that the Chinese were culturally and racially “inferior” • The Chinese Exclusion Act: – excluded Chinese "skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining" from entering the country for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. – The few Chinese non-laborers who wished to immigrate had to obtain certification from the Chinese government that they were qualified to immigrate, which tended to be difficult to prove. – The Act also affected Chinese who were already in the United States. Any Chinese who left the United States had to obtain certifications for reentry, and the Act made Chinese immigrants permanent aliens by excluding them from U.S. citizenship. The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) Significance: • The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first significant restriction on free immigration in U.S. history. • Reinforced the American idea of “white supremacy” and the preservation of the “white race” • After the Act's passage, Chinese men in the U.S. had little chance of ever reuniting with their wives, or of starting families in their new home. Regional Population Distribution by Race: 1900 Black “Exoduster” Homesteaders Exodusters waiting for a steamboat to carry them westward in the late 1870's. Blacks Moving West Review Questions: 1. How did the U.S. government provide incentives for Americans to settle the American West? 2. Where did the western settlers come from? 3. What were the positive and negative effects of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad? Review Questions: 4. How did the American frontier shift westward? 5. How were non-white settlers treated? Were they treated the same as white immigrants of European descent? Why? 6. Make a Prediction: What foreseeable issues do you think will arise as settlers push further west?