Key topic 2 american west


Key Topic Two - Development of the Plains 1862-74

The Civil War

Due to slavery abolition propositions. The Northern states were unionist- they believed that slavery was wrong. The southern states were confederates, and believed that slavery should be kept- it was the basis of their economy. This made it difficult for acts to be implemented in the west as there was a large split on views. Then, in 1861, the southern states split off and created a confederacy- this meant the north was free to put across any acts.

They put across two main ones-

The Pacific Railway act 1862-

  • The government would give large grants of land (20m squared for every mile) to railroad companies who would build a transcontinental railroad
  • They would also give 48,000 per mile (a loan with very low interest) to the companies
  • This was to encourage Western migration

The homestead act 1862-

  • 160 acres of land to anyone who promised to farm it for five years
  • by 1874, 6 million acres given out
  • By 1930s, 80 million acres attributed to land given by it
  • However, companies would buy land and resell to families
  • Railroad companies would also buy this land

The Transcontinental Railroad-

Union Pacific

Central Pacific

Cattle Industry

Cattle came to the US when Texas became US land instead of mexican in 1845. There were so many cattle, there was its own breed- the texas longhorn.By the 1850s there were a lot of these, and they could withstand climate changes and were easy to look after as they were quite independent and could survive free range.

When the civil war happened, people who owned cattle fled to be a part of it and fight for their beliefs. Therefore, texas longhorn was left untended to and this led to them interbreeding and there being an extortionate amount of cattle to tend to when soldiers returned. There were 5 million in Texas when people came back. This meant there was little to no demand in the southern states for beef due to there being so many cattle. However, there was massive demand in the Eastern states and from the government- in the east, one cow could be sold for 40 dollars instead of 5 in texas due to itbeing so rare. The government needed a cheap and easy way to mass buy food for the plains indians on the reservations- this was made possible by cattle marketing.

However, to get cattle to the east, they had to be mass herded across eastern states. this was expensive, as they had to be fed and cared for ( there was no refridgerating method, if the cattle were killed then transported it would become mouldy and rotten). Mass herding caused conflict with other cattle owners, because the texas longhorn had a disease called the Texas fever. This would be spread easily to other cattle breeds.

Goodnight and Loving-

They thought of demand in Western states rather than eastern, and took their cattle west and north to Fort Sumner. this was an army fort, where


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