American History Notes 9th Grade Chapter 11 Section 2

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Chapter 11.2 Notes

1. The Beginning of Settlement
Guiding Question: What encouraged settlers to move west to the Great Plains? * The Great Plains is a vast region of prairie roughly was of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains. * Settlers faced many challenges with the weather

* In this dry grassland, trees naturally grew only by the rivers and streams. * To get water they often had to drill wells more than 100 feet deep * Eventually this land turned into Americans wheat belt

* In 1862 the government passed the Homestead Act that for a small fee people could file for a homestead and get up to 160 acres they could own after 5 years

2. The Wheat Belt
Guiding Question: What new methods and technologies revolutionized agriculture and made it practical to cultivate the Plains? * The Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862 gave each state 30,000 acres to sell to fund existing colleges or make new ones that focused on agriculture and mechanical arts * Dry farming was planting seeds so far in the ground there was enough moisture for them to grow * Some of the new tools farmers where using by the 1860s where steel plows, threshing machines, seed drills, and reapers * Bonanza farmers formed companies, invested in property and equipment, and hired laborers as needed

3. Farmers Fall on Hard Times
* The Untied States was the leading exporter of wheat by the 1880s * There was a big drought in the 1880s and the large amount of wheat caused wheat prices to drop * Some farmers tried to borrow money from the bank, but if they failed to pay there mortgage payments they lost there land to the bank * Farmers often continued to work as tenant farmers, renting the land from its new owners * By 1900, tenants cultivated about one-third of the farms on the Plains

4. Closing the Frontier
* One April 22, 1889 the government opened large territories for settlement, thousands of people raced to stake...
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