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Honors History B3 Jacobs Moving West
1860-1900 by Dylan Kirk
11 months ago
The "Long Walk" of the Navajo begins. Forces led by Kit Carson trap a huge number of Navajo in Canyon de Chelly in present-day Arizona, a steep-sided canyon in which the Navajo had traditionally taken refuge. The Navajo are marched southeast to Bosque Redondo, with many dying along the way.
The first of the great cattle drives begins in Texas. Cowboys round up cattle and drive them northward to rail lines that reach into Kansas. In the years to come some eight million longhorn cattle travel the trails north to Kansas from ranches across Texas and throughout the Great Plains.
U.S. military authorities force Navajo chiefs to sign a treaty agreeing to live on reservations and cease opposition to whites. The treaty establishes a 3.5 million-acre reservation within the Navajo nation's old domains (a small portion of the original Navajo territory).
The two railroads meet at Promontory Summit near Ogden, Utah and drive the golden spike to symbolize that the country is now connected from coast to coast by rail.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of McKay v. Campbell, decides that Indians are not U.S. citizens since their allegiance is to their tribe, not to the United States. Because of this ruling Indians are denied protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Timber Culture Act was passed. Under the terms of this act people could have 160 acres of land free provided that at least 40 acres of it was planted with trees. Anyone could lay claim to the land even foreign immigrants.
U.S. president Ulysses Grant vetoes a bill that would protect the buffalo from extinction.
At the Battle of Little Bighorn forces led by General George Armstrong Custer are defeated by combined Native American forces. The Indians' victory is their last major triumph against the whites.
The Fence Cutter's War begins when a drought in Texas makes good grazing land scarce. Small ranchers and homesteaders pressure lawmakers to ban the fencing of public lands. When they receive no assistance, they band together in small groups with names like the Owls, Javelinas, or Blue Devils and, under the cover of night, tear down the offending fences.
The cowboy era ends. Increased settlement of Kansas leads to the closing of the cattle towns, and expanding railroad lines mean that ranchers no longer have to drive cattle to railheads. Huge blizzards that strike the plains in 1886 and 1887 kill off cattle by the thousands, proving that cattle can't be left to fend for themselves. Farmers claim increasing amounts of western land, and ranchers are forced to purchase and fence land for their cattle. Men who were once cowboys now become farmhands.
U.S. troops capture Apache chief Geronimo after four years of warfare with his band on the Mexican border.
In the Oklahoma Land Rush some fifty thousand settlers claim lands just opened to settlement, thus ending the Indian's claim to this territory.
The Battle of Wounded Knee ends the last major Indian resistance to white settlement in America. Nearly 500 well-armed troopers of the U.S. 7th Cavalry massacre an estimated 300 (out of 350) Sioux men, women, and children in a South Dakota encampment. The Army takes only 35 casualties.
The Superintendent of the Census for 1890 declares that there is no longer a frontier in America. The census report's conclusion about the closing of the frontier encourages President Theodore Roosevelt to begin setting aside public lands as national parks.
Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act establishing that the Union Pacific Railroad Company was to build west from Omaha, Nebraska and the Central Pacific Railroad Company was to build east from Sacramento, California. It also provided for a telegraph line to be built adjacent to the railroad.
Homestead Act divided 2.5 million acres into sections or homesteads of 160 acres. People could now just claim 160 acres of land. The only requirement on their part was that they paid a small administration charge and built a house and lived on the land for at least 5 years. Nearly 470,000 homesteaders apply for homesteads in the next eighteen years.
At the end of the nineteenth century, most non-Indians believe that Native Americans as a group will not survive much longer. The term "Vanishing Americans" comes to be applied to Native Americans. This idea is used to justify continued taking of Native lands and moving the people to places far away. From an estimated population of 15,000,000 in the year 1500, the American Indian population declines to a low point of 237,196 in the 1900 U.S. Census.
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