The West: Exploiting an Empire
After the Civil War, Americans, who believed expansion was their “manifest destiny,” began moving westward across the continent, subduing the Native Americans through various means, creating a North American empire for raw material to fuel factories. Western economies need the Fed Govt
BEYOND THE FRONTIER
Prior to the Civil War, the march of White settlement paused at the margin of the semiarid Great Plains, a region seared by hot winds and too little rain for extensive agriculture in summers and buffeted by blizzards and hailstorms in the winter, which presented a temporary obstacle, like the Rockies, to further migration. It was thought West of MS river was uninhabitable, aka the Great Amer. Desert.
CRUSHING THE NATIVE AMERICANS
At the civil war, ¼ million Native Americans lived in the West. Because they were seen as an additional obstacle to further White migration, the Native Americans were pushed from their lands and forced to radically change their cultures by the end of the century. By the 1870’s, most of the tribes had were destroyed or beaten into submission.
Life of the Plains Indians
2/3 Natives lived on Great Plains. After they acquired the Spanish horse they took up a unique culture based upon nomadic hunting of the buffalo( gave food, clothing, shelter, used everything). Though the Plains Indians generally existed in tribes of thousands people, they lived in smaller bands of several hundred. These bands acted independently, making it hard for the U.S. govt. Comanche dominated the Plains using horses and violence. Tribes developed fierce, trained warriors. Within Plains’ culture, men and women existed in relative equality. Men hunted and did ceremonies, women did children and art and most of daily life stuff and in charge of property.
“As Long as Waters Run”: Searching for an Indian Policy
Earlier in the century, the Great Plains, known as the Great American Desert, was considered by the United States government as unusable for Whites and was given to the Native Americans as “one big reservation.” But with the discovery of gold in the West, the federal government began a policy of concentration, restricting tribes to specific, limited reservations, which lasted only a few years. Conflicts-N.A. refused to stay on assigned lands, settlers went into indian lands, and thus N.A. were pushed out of KA and NB. Wanting peace in 1864, Chief Black Kettle led his followers to camp at Sand Creek (CO) where they were massacred by Chivingston’s militia, which caused protests in the East. Great Sioux War- gov’t was to build Bozeman Trail for miners but Red Cloud attacked b/cus it was Sioux hunting grounds and wiped out Fetterman’s 82 soldiers. In the East, they wanted peace/ humanely civilize N.A, but westerners called for control and punishment. Peace Commission created to end Sioux War; small reservations policy (teach to farm, civilize). N.A. sent north to Black Hills, South into OK, to be supervised by gov’t. Final Battles on the Plains
From 1867 to 1890, the federal government fought a number of tribes in brutal military campaigns b/cus N.A. despised the impoverished reservations and denounced treaties. South, Kiowa and Camanche rampaged in TX Panhandle until U.S army defeated them in Red River War; North, conflict from Black Hills Gold rush in 1875-Custer’s Last Stand. Desperate N.A. turned to Ghost dances thought to make whites go and lands return. 7th Cavalry murdered Chief Bigfoot’s Ghost Dancers/ innocent band in the Wounded Knee Massacre. The End of Tribal Life
In the 1870s and 1880s, Congress began a new policy to try to end tribal authority, turn Native Americans into farmers(sucked at), and “educate” their children to be more like Whites. The Dawes Act of 1887 forced Native Americans to live on individual plots of land(160 acres/family) and allowed 90 million acres of Indian lands to be sold to White settlers for N.A. school funding...
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