· 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 farming.
· 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? and Dangers!
· 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 was.
Dangers faced when travelling west
· Lack of food
· Hostile Indians
· Weather conditions
All of these often lead to Disease.
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.
California gold rush cont.
- 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.
- 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.
- Smith claimed no-one else had seen the plates and that he was returning them to the hillside. They were very unpopular in New York State as people thought he was a fraud who was only trying to make money and the clergy denounced the book of Mormon as blasphemous.
- His house was attacked by mobs and he and his followers were shot at in the street.
- After praying for guidance he moved with his followers to the village of Kirtland Ohio.
- The Mormons did extremely well in Kirtland.
- They worked hard and eventually owned a shop, a mill and a printing press.
- Soon numbers of Mormons over took numbers of Non-Mormons and people did not like this.
- When the banks collapsed in 1837 the Mormons were blamed and chased out of Kirtland.
- Joseph Smith and his followers fled to Missouri. But they were no more popular there.
- In the winter of 1838 the Mormons moved to Nauvoo Illinois, all went well until Smith claimed to have a vision in which it was said Mormons could have more than one wife.
- Some of the Mormons though this was wrong and denounced Smith as a false prophet.
- They complained about him in the newspaper they wrote
- He destroyed the newspaper and this lead to claims that he was a dictator.
- He was imprisoned
- Once news of Polygamy reached non-Mormons they were outraged. They thought it was immoral and would lead to a rapid increase in the number of Mormons.
- A mob soon shot Smith dead and people roamed around the countryside looking for Mormons. There was even talk of an attack on Nauvoo.
- They could have defended Nauvoo they did have an army but their new leader had other ideas.
- Brigham Young was the new leader of the Mormons. He decide that until they moved somewhere out of the way that no-one wanted they would not be left in peace. So he found the Great Salt Lake.
- 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.
- In 1847 young lead a pioneer band of 143 men, women and children who were all chosen for their endurance. Their job was to lead the way and choose a suitable place to select a site for the Mormon settlement.
- At the great salt lake Young still had problem to overcome
- He decided that their would be no individual ownership of water or land. The church allotted everyone their own farm land according to needs.
- After some time the American fought a war with Mexico in which they won new territories. Salt Lake City was part of this. The applied to call their state Deseret but were not allowed. Instead the government said they could create Utah. Smaller than Deseret but Young was named as the first governor.
- For the Mormon settlement to develop any more people were needed. The perpetual emigration was set up the pay for convert’s passage to the Great Salt Lake.