Basic American West Notes

These notes are a very basic group from the beginning of my revision.

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  • Created by: antonia
  • Created on: 02-06-09 20:08
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The American West Revision Notes
Conditions on the plains = EXTREME WEATHER -> hot in summer, cold in winter.
Indians were HUNTER GATHERERS. They relied on the buffalo for everything ­ food, clothing,
tepees, bones and fuel (dry dung).
Also, they didn't believe land could be owned.
ORAL HISTORY ­ they did not write, they told stories.
1862 ­ Homestead Act -> 160 acres of free land if its farmed for five years.
1875 ­ Timber Culture Act -> another 160 acres if trees are planted on 40 aces.
Why Go West?
Free land
Propaganda from the government and the railway companies
For adventure
A fresh start
Escape religious persecution (e.g. the Mormons)
Escape overcrowding
Problems with the Whites
Whites believed the Indians were savage because:
They had more than 1 wife.
Arranged marriages
Rituals/Dance (e.g. the Sun Dance)
They didn't fight.
Therefore the whites tried to convert the Indians to Christianity.
They also tried to force their culture upon them ­ speaking English, schooling, wearing shirt
and tie etc.
Broken Treaties
The whites had a tendency to break treaties with the Indians, such as the Fort Laramie
Treaty of 1851. This was broken when gold was discovered in the Black Hills of Dakota.
Gold Mining:
The California gold rush of 1848. Wagon trails were formed throughout the plains to allow
people to reach California.
The Mormons
Kirkland, Ohio:
1831 ­ 1837
Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered here.
The Mormon bank was situated here until it went bankrupt.
Independence, Missouri

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It is here that the Mormons started their campaign for anti-slavery.
Nauvoo, Illinois:
Joseph Smith and his brother were killed here in 1844.
They reached Salt Lake City on the 23rd July 1847
Why were the Mormons persecuted?
They had multiple wives (polygamy)
They attempted to convert others to become Mormons.
They wanted political standing (e.g. presidency)
They were against slavery.
They had their own police force (the Danites).…read more


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