American west notes

these are some brief notes on most of the key parts of the american west sylabus. I hope you find them helpful.

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Indian Religion
The Sioux believed in Wakan Tanka, the great spirit.
Circles were very important they believed in the circle of nature
They believed that you could not own land and rarely used it for
Some places were specifically sacred, for example that black hills.
They believed one way to contact the spirit world was through visions.
Medicine man was a name given by non-Indians to an Indian shaman.
They believed that medicine men could cure illness as they could use the
power of the spirits.
Why go west?
Economic depression
Price of wheat and corn had collapsed-affected farmers in the Midwest
Some farmers in the Mississippi valley began to feel crowded
The west had HUGE amounts of land
In the early 1840's reports came from the east saying how wonderful it
Dangers faced when travelling west
Lack of food
Hostile Indians
Weather conditions
California gold rush
January 1848 gold was found in the sierra foothills.
Sam Brannan set up a store next to the site and went back to San
Francisco to tell then all about it.
When most people got there nearly all the gold was gone and they
faced major disappointments.
Mining towns sprang up and where often just a dusty road. People
lived in shacks and diarrhoea and scurvy where common.
Saloons sprang up so drinking was very common
Gambling was so common there were even tables set up on the streets.
Most miners ended up passing over their earnings to those who owned
the stores, or prostitutes.
By 1852 gold in California had gone, it could not be reached without
heavy duty machinery.
Law and order was often an issue as these towns sprang up quickly
and had no police force.
Mining towns often attracted the "dregs of society" and claim
jumping was common.
They drew up a mining code so claims to mines had to be recorded
with the district recorder and disputes over claims had to be dealt
with by a committee of miners.
A sheriff would be appointed to arrest the person and the committee
of miners would decide on their punishment.

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The trials did not take long and the most common punishments were
hanging, flogging or banishment.
Their were lots of different races that were miners and this often
lead to tensions, attacks and murders.
Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by an angel and that their
was a book with gold plates that he must dig up from a hillside giving
an account of the former inhabitants of the continent and the source
from which they sprang.…read more

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He was a very good organiser and they prepared to leave all winter.
They were set up into a number of wagon trains separated into about
100 wagons.
As young travelled with the first wagon train they set up camps as
they went for those following. When in June 1846 they reached the
Missisourie River Young set up the winter quarters.
That winter was tough the weather was harsh many people died due to
plague and cold.…read more

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Building materials
Problems of farming on the plains
Water shortages
Extremes of weather
Protecting crops
Growing crops
Natural hazards
Wind pumps
Dry Framing
Growing a surplus
Turkey red wheat
Barbed wire
Other machinery
Hard work
What did women do on the homesteads?
Collecting cattle chips
Raising the children
Cattle Industry
There were a lot of cattle in the west- due to the civil war and little
food in the east.…read more

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Many cattle men had gone bankrupt
Barbed wire
Conflict between cattle ranchers and homesteaders. Why?
They wanted the same land
Homesteader thought the cattle ranchers cattle infect their animals
Sheep farming used the same grazing land
Barbed wire cut them off from water occasionally
Johnson county war happened between cattle barons and small
ranchers and homesteaders. ­land disputes
Cattle baron were defeated but never convicted.…read more

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Gold found in the Rockies- people went to claim it this broke the
existing peace treaty.
Red clouds attacks he army after peace talks broke off.
Governments forced to admit defeat after red clouds makes
travellers unable to travel.
The US army agreed to withdraw from the forts under the forts
&the fort Laramie treaty was created and so was the great Indian
Red cloud agreed t this.…read more


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