The Economy of the Trans-Mississippi West, 1850-1900
During the mid-19th century and early 20th century, the promoters and government officials viewed the West as a land of opportunity and prosperity. However, people with economic and political power took advantages of westerners for their own benefits. As a result, the rich got richer and westerner suffered economy downfall. A few was benefited from railroads and federal land grants, while others faced several conflicts. In the end, the westerners had to suffer due to the greed of economic and political power.
In 1850 and later on, several transcontinental railroads were built for easier transportation. The government also granted federal land for the laissez-faire ideologists for building the railroad (Doc. A). However, the process was slower than it’s planned. “More than 800 petitions were presents to Land Commission, and already 10 years of delays have elapsed and only some 50 patents have been granted” (Doc. B). The petitioners eventually have to sell their possessions little by little. Richest landholders ended up “living as objects of charity” (Doc. B). Red Cloud was also upset by the poor work of the government. He believed that “commissioners are sent out there to do nothing but to rob [us] and get the riches of this world away from us” (Doc. C). As the chief of Oglala Sioux, the Native American felt that the new American had come to kick them out of their lands and to steal their properties and possessions. In addition, Native American was suppressed by the colonists. “White man a teacher who tortured an ambitious Indian youth by frequently reminding the brave changeling that he was nothing but a “government pauper” (Doc.J). They lost trust and faith in the new government of the United States. Furthermore, the freight rates had done more injuries to the Western region than anything else. “The railroads have retarded its growth as they first hastened it” (Doc. I). F.B. Tracy...
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