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describe two features of the great plains landscape?

huge, flat expanse of grassland
covered in buffalo
little trees and water


what is nomadic living?

not settling one area in order to hunt the buffalo as they move - Lakota Sioux . whereas other tribes settled and lived in one place farming the lines - Mandans


what was tribal warfare

the aim wasn't necessarily to kill or seize land but more to perform acts of bravery such as stealing horses and counting coup (getting close enough to an enemy to touch them)


how were tribes organised?

split into bands each with s chief and a council of elders. whilst the chief didn't have complete control he would have earned respect and loyalty over the years by demonstrating courage and generosity
medicine men and women were spiritual leaders of the tribes


what were the views on land

they didn't see at something to be sold or bought as they believed it belonged to everyone and they thought it was spiritual and sacred - humans were part of nature not masters over it
they believed a great spirit created the world and that everything in nature contained spirits which they needed to keep on their side - ceremonies and dance rituals were performed to contact the spirits


what were the responsibilities of the women in the tribe?

looking after tipi which they owned giving them status
raising children
making clothes


what were the responsibilities of the men in the tribe

tending the horses
protecting the band


what were the importance of the horses in the Indian lifestyle?

essential for nomadic lifestyle
transport and warfare
signified status
measure of bravery
number of them is measure of wealth


what was the importance of the buffalo

due to a lack of materials like wood and animals, the Plains Indians lifestyle was centred around the buffalo food
buffalo dance to call buffalo spirits to help them hunt - sacred ritual


what where some push factors that drove people out of the East

collapse of wheat prices
financial crisis - recession in 1837


what were some pull factors that encouraged people to move west?

freedom and independence
fertile land particularly along Mississippi
Oregon trail publicised by Smith in 1825
Manifest Destiny
1842 pre-emption act where settlers could stake a claim
Oregon became part of US states in 1846
population was growing as was the demand for land
Thomas Jefferson a forming president believed land ownership would create a healthy moral population
opportunity was promised


what was happening to the Indians before 1830 regarding their lifestyle

the government had pursued a policy of assimilating the native Americans in the east to fit the while culture
tribes like the Cherokee took on aspects but people still didn't see them as equals. The Americans saw their lives and uncivilised and inferior



the Indian removal act was passed under President Andrew Jackson giving him permission to grant tribes land on the great plains in exchange for their land in the east

some tribes resisted removal and the Cherokees but were forcefully marched to the plains by US soldiers in 1838 and 4000 of the 15000 died on journey
Seminoles fought 1835-1842 but then surrendered


What was the permanent Indian frontier

the boundary between the East and the Great Plains


what happened when settlers began to encroach in to the Eastern edges of the Plains

Indians didn't like the settlers moving across their land and the two groups couldn't live together because the nomadic lifestyle of the Indians clashed with the settlers desire to fence and settle land


Who were missionaries

among the earliest settlers on the west coast in 1830's with aim to convert the Native Americans to Christianity



the great migration saw a sudden increase in settlers



government funded expeditions and maps of the Oregon trail and published guide books for migrants

Congress passed the distribution pre-emption act which allowed settlers to buy 160 acres of land for a very low cost if they'd lived there for 14 months


why was the journey to the west coast so difficult ?

took around 5 months to complete the 2000mile journey and the journey had to be complete before winter
as many as 10% would die
mountains and rivers to cross with heavy wagons
food and water shortages
diseases such as typhoid and cholera
accidents such as falling under wagon wheels and accidental shootings
half of the 100,000 people going to California went by Sea during 1849 which had its own problems


the donner party

left in may 11864 with 60 wagons and 300 people
more women, children and elderly
at fort Bridger a small group of around 80 people attempted a shortcut by leaflet guidance
4 wagons broke, 300 cattle died, one man killed one
arrived in late Sierra Nevada trapped by snow
sent for help, took 32 days to reach Johnsons Ranch
Both group ate their dead to survive
rescue parties found them January 1847


the Mormons

they also travelled west but didn't go as far as the west coast, they went around 1400 miles to Salt Lake Valley
They left due to religious persecution and many Americans disliked their religious practices of polygamy .They were attacked and driven from their homes in Ohio to Missouri and Illinois
Their leader Brigham Young wanted to go to Salt Lake Walley because he believed no on else wanted to live their due to the dry and harsh condition so he could create his own Mormon state
they planned to leave Illinois in spring 1846 but an increase in anti-Mormon violence meant they had to leave in February
this meant they rushed and left supplies and organisation behind
conditions were hard and it was a cold winter
their progress was slow and they stayed in winter quarters by Missouri river by spring 1847 400 dead
set off again in April with improved organisation and reached their destination in July 1847


how did the Mormons adapt to their journey and condition at Salt Lake Valley

on the journey they stopped until conditions were appropriate for travel and they planted crops and built way stations along the trail to feed and help later travellers
at SLV there was a lack of water, rain, wood and grasshoppers destroyed crops
they adapted by digging irrigation ditches and building houses from sod



the government and people began to realise that the Plains weren't quite the great American desert they thought so they opened up Kansas and Nebraska for settlement as it wasn't far to travel


land issues of the great plains

soil was fertile but covered in a thick layer of sod which was too hard for a light plough
little/no wood for building or fuel
lack of water meant that crops like maize failed and deep wells had to be dug
wind, extreme climates, grasshopper plagues and prairie fires often destroyed crops


why did the Plains Indians become more hostile

in 1843 a significant number of settlers began to move across the permanent Indian Frontier and many more came with the California gold rush of 1849. This disrupted the buffalo herds and polluted water sources bringing diseases like cholera and their opposing lifestyles clashed. Indians became more hostile attacking wagon trains which increased the settlers fear and distrust and the settlers felt threatened by the Indians inter-tribal conflict



the Indians appropriations act allocated funds to concentrate the Plains Indians onto specific areas called reservations aiming to reduce conflict on the plains and encourage the Indians to farm and build houses

the fort Laramie treaty was the first attempt to use the Indians appropriations act to put the Indians onto reservations. It defined the territory of each tribe to minimise inter-tribal conflict


what did the fort Laramie treaty of 1851 state

tribes would remain in their territory
tribes would allow settlers to cross the plains and allow the government to build roads and forts along the trails
the government promised the tribes permanent rights to their land and that tribes would receive $50,000 of oods a year for 50 years


was the fort Laramie treaty kept by both sides

no, both sides broke the agreement many tribes saying they didn't even know it existed and the government couldn't ensure settlers kept to the agreement and in 1852 they reduced yearly payments from 50 to 10 years


what were the effects of the fort Laramie treaty of 1851

settlement increased in California and Oregon
restricting native Americans to their reservations and the building of forts and roads in their territory threatened their way of life.
broken promises increased resentment among native Americans towards government and settlers


why in 1849 was there an increase in ineffective law and lots of disorder

in 1849 there was the Californian gold rush which drew many people from all over the world increasing the non Native American population from 14,000 to 225,000 between 1848 and 1852
development of mining towns
society was unstructured
rivers and streams became crowded as everyone fought for the areas with gold
gold became scarce
claim jumping were people stole each others claims to profitable land
criminals and professional gamblers attracted
disagreements leading to shootings and murder
poor living and working conditions
drinking and gambling
racial conflict

1850 a Foreign miners tax introduced when some foreign miners revolted a vigilante army fired on them and many foreign miners were driven out