Chapter Essays

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  • Topic: Cowboy, Homestead Act, Ranch
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Chapter Essays: 26
* Explain how three of the following influenced the development of the ‘last West’ from the 1850s to 1900. [Miners, cattlemen, farmers, immigrant cities] The ‘last West’, as described in chapter 26, was an important part of American history that was shaped, populated, and influenced, mainly, by 3 occupations: miners, cattlemen, and farmers. Through these jobs, people witnessed the struggle and hardship that came with trying to attain the “American Dream” further building the character of the people of the west. The demise of struggling Indian tribes and the ripening of the railroads caused the seeds of the mining frontier to blossom. The lust for the precious, yet rare, gold was still going strong in California when another grand discovery in Colorado was found. Hundreds of thousands of “fifty-niners” and “Pikes Peakers” swarmed the area all in attempts to strip the land of its gold and silver. The fact that there were more miners than gold didn’t really seem to slow the swarm down. Alas many returned back east with no money or gold at all. The ones that did strike it rich stayed and continued to real in hauls of golden dust and silver. More gold discoveries in Nevada, Montana, and Idaho brought many to the west with a goal and a dream. Eventually, all the surface gold was swallowed up by the greedy plunderers and the only way to get more was by importing machinery, created thanks to the industrial revolution, to dig deep and extract the gold out from quartz. This is when mining met large corporations for poor miners who gave up everything to come to west, couldn’t afford huge machines like that. Those poor farmers eventually just shifted occupations to day laborers as they were in the east, working the machines. Despite this sad news the mining industry was important to American society because it drew people (men and women) and wealth over to the barren west. The railroads also fertilized seeds for the next big occupation that shaped...
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