The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution

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The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution

The Clash of Cultures on the Plains The West, after the Civil War, was still largely untamed. It was inhabited by Indians, buffalo, coyotes, Mexicans, and Mormons. The American Indians found themselves caught in between their own traditions and the westward-pushing white man. Indians fought one another as with the Comanche over the Apache, the Chippewa over the Cheyenne, and the Sioux over the Crow, Kiowa, and Pawnee. By this time, the Sioux had become expert horsemen and effectively hunted buffalo on the Spanish beasts. Whites' diseases were still striking at Native Americans. And, whites struck at the massive buffalo herds. Relations between Indians and the federal government were strained at best. Treaties were made at Fort Laramie (1851) and Fort Laramie (1853). The agreements started the system of reservations where Indians were to live on certain lands unmolested by whites. Whites didn't understand Indian society and that a "chief" didn't always exactly sign an agreement for an entire group or area. There were many chiefs representing many areas or even no area. Indians expected help from the federal government in return for their lands. The help (food, blankets, supplies) often never got there or were swindled by corrupt officials. After the Civil War, the U.S. Army’s new mission was to clear out the West of Indians for white settlers to move in. The so-called "Indian Wars" took place roughly from 1864-1890 (from the Sand Creek Massacre to the Battle of Wounded Knee). It was really less of a war than a long series of skirmishes, battles, and massacres. At first, the Indians actually had the advantage because their arrows could be fired more rapidly than a muzzle-loading rifle. The invention of the Colt .45 revolver (the six-shooter by Samuel Colt) and Winchester repeating rifle

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