Western Frontier: 1870-1915 Flashcards Preview

AP US Period 4 > Western Frontier: 1870-1915 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Western Frontier: 1870-1915 Deck (41)
Loading flashcards...


A boomtown is a community that experiences exponential growth in population and wealth in a short period.

Boomtowns accompanied the discovery of mineral wealth in the West, such as the discovery of gold in California in 1849, silver in Nevada in the 1860s and 1870s, and the Black Hills of South Dakota in the 1870s and 1880s.


What were longdrives?

Long drives were cattle drives. Cowboys guided huge herds of longhorns from cattle ranches in Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska to rail yards in Kansas, where they were shipped east to slaughterhouses.

The era of the long drives ended in the 1890s as railroads expanded their lines to cattle-ranching states.


What were sodbusters?

The sodbusters were those who took advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862 to acquire 160 acres on the Great Plains.

Many of these farmers were immigrants, with little experience in farming. The work was difficult; plagues of locusts destroyed growing crops, and the soil proved to be difficult to work and wore out easily.


How did the first Indian reservation system develop?

In the 1830s, Indians had been relegated to the areas west of the Mississippi River, but were allowed freedom of movement. In the 1850s the Indians were assigned ("reserved") to tracts of land with definite boundaries, a process which increased during the post-Civil War period.


What happened at the Sand Creek Massacre?

At Sand Creek, Colorado members of the Colorado Militia attacked a joint Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indian village, killing between 70 and 130 Indians, most of them women and children.


The influx of gold miners to South Dakota during the Black Hills Gold Rush in 1876 led to the outbreak of what conflict?

The Great Sioux War

The Sioux resented the incursion of white miners onto their reservations. Led by Chief Crazy Horse, the Sioux had several early successes, including wiping out General Custer and the Seventh U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

By 1877, an overwhelming number of forces and a loss at the Battle of Wolf Mountain induced the Sioux to surrender and return to their reservations.


In 1877, the _____ _____ Tribe refused to vacate their lands in the Pacific Northwest and move to an Idaho reservation.

Nez Perce

The Army's attempt to force the Nez Perce onto reservation land led to a 1,150-mile pursuit, 18 engagements, and four major battles, until the Nez Perce Tribe surrendered.

Chief Joseph, the most famous of the Nez Perce, gave his famous speech "I Will Fight No More Forever" at the surrender.


What Indian policy did the government establish in the Dawes Act of 1887?

Under the Dawes Act of 1887, lands belonging to the Indian tribes were surveyed and allotted to individual Indians and lands deemed to be "excess" were confiscated and sold to white settlers by the government.


What was the Ghost Dance movement?

The Ghost Dance movement, which achieved its zenith in the 1890s, was an Indian spiritual movement that incorporated numerous Indian belief systems.

Viewed as a threat by most whites, the Ghost Dance movement was outlawed.


What was the Battle of Wounded Knee?

The Battle of Wounded Knee took place in 1890, and was more of a massacre than a battle. On the banks of Wounded Knee Creek, U.S. soldiers killed 135 Sioux Ghost Dance practitioners.

Following the Wounded Knee massacre, the Ghost Dance movement ended.


Who led the Apaches in their efforts to resist Army attempts to force them onto a barren reservation in the American Southwest?


Geronimo led Apache raids on both Mexican and American settlements for over 30 years. In 1886, Geronimo surrendered to U.S. troops after a long campaign.


What was the effect of the near-extinction of the buffalo on the Indian way of life?

The nomadic tribes of the Great Plains followed the migration patterns of the buffalo, and depended on the animal for everything from food to clothing. With the near-extinction of the buffalo, the nomadic way of life came to an end.

The buffalo was driven to near-extinction from a combination of overhunting by whites and the limitations on grazing land brought about by increased white settlement of the Great Plains.


What was the goal of federal Indian policy during the later half of the 19th century?

The goal of federal Indian policy was assimilation, incorporating the Indians into the American way of life. Assimilation policies led to attempts to convert the Indians forcibly to Christianity, and to Indian boarding schools, where young Indians were taken from their families and forcibly taught white culture.

The most famous of the Indian schools was the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. Carlisle had an outstanding football program; Jim Thorpe, a football star and Olympic athlete, played for the school.


What did Helen Hunt Jackson detail in her work A Century of Dishonor (1881)?

Hunt described the treatment of Indians at the hands of the U.S. government, and detailed broken treaties and dishonest relations that had characterized the interaction between the two cultures.


What was the Central Pacific Railroad?

The Central Pacific Railroad was one of the two railroads (the other being the Union Pacific) forming the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. The Central Pacific was pushing from west to east, beginning in Sacramento, California.


Which group primarily made up the Central Pacific Railroad's workforce in the drive to complete the Transcontinental Railroad?

At its peak, the Central Pacific Railroad employed some 12,000 Chinese laborers, and they made up over 90% of the total Central Pacific labor force.


The railroad driving West from Council Bluffs, Iowa was the _____ _____ Railroad.

Union Pacific

The Union Pacific's task was much easier than that of the Central Pacific (which went west to east). Rather than having to go over numerous mountain ranges, the Union Pacific's track extended over the vast flat stretches of the Great Plains.


Who made up the workforce for the Union Pacific Railway while the Transcontinental Railroad was being built?

Drawing on the urban cities of the East, the Union Pacific employed newly arrived Irish immigrants in large numbers. In addition, former Union and Confederate soldiers served on the project.


What is the importance of Promontory Point, Utah?

At Promontory Point, Utah on November 6, 1869, the tracks of the Central Pacific Railway were joined to those of the Union Pacific Railway, completing the first Transcontinental Railroad.

The last spike was made of gold, and is now kept at Stanford University.


What was the Black Friday Scandal of 1869?

In 1869, two stockbrokers, Jay Gould and James Fisk, attempted to enrich themselves by cornering the gold market. To make the scheme work, they bribed President Grant's brother-in-law to convince the President to have the Treasury Department stop selling gold.

Discovering the scheme, Grant ordered the Treasury Department to begin selling gold on "Black" Friday, September 29, 1869. The price of gold fell, and numerous businessmen were ruined.


What was the Crédit Mobilier Scandal?

The Crédit Mobilier was a land company associated with the Union Pacific Railroad. Beginning in the late 1860s, the Crédit Mobilier owners provided stock to Congressmen in an effort to protect themselves from Congressional oversight and investigation.

The scandal was uncovered by the New York Sun in 1872 during President Grant's re-election campaign. Although Grant had no knowledge of the affair, it did much to tarnish his reputation.


What was the Whiskey Ring?

The Whiskey Ring was another of the many scandals of President Grant's administration. During the scandal, federal tax collectors were bribed by liquor manufacturers to defraud the federal government of millions in tax revenue. While Grant did not know of the scheme, the discovery of the scandal in 1875 was seen by many as a sign of corruption endemic to Republican administrations.


How did the growth of railroads during the 1870s and 1880s affect the farmers of the Great Plains?

During the 1870s and 1880s, railroads proliferated and were significantly overbuilt. To make a profit, many of these railroads reached discount agreements with frequent customers. To make up the shortfall, the railroads charged high rates to farmers, whose areas were often only serviced by one railroad line.


price fixing

Price fixing is an anti-competitive measure that takes place when competitors agree that they will match prices. During the later half of the 1800s, competing railroads often agreed amongst themselves on the prices that they would charge farmers for shipping produce, leading to increased costs to the farmers.

The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) was passed to curb price fixing and other business abuses by large corporations.


What is the National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry?

The National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry (the "Grange") is a cooperative association of farmers. Originally founded as an educational organization, the Grange fought against exorbitant prices charged by railways and middlemen in the 1870s and 1880s, and turned into a dominant political force to represent the interests of farmers.


Although it had offices in many states, in which region of the country was the Grange the strongest?

The Grange was primarily concentrated in the states of the Old Northwest, such as Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.


What were the Granger Cases (1877)?

By 1877, several states had established "Granger Laws" which served to regulate the rates charged by railroads, grain elevator operators, and the like. Six of these laws came before the Supreme Court. The decisions, known as the Granger Cases, upheld the Granger Laws.

The most famous of these cases is Munn v. Illinois (1877). The Court held that Illinois could regulate rates charged by grain elevator operators. The Court reasoned that grain elevators were private utilities serving the public interest.


What was the Interstate Commerce Act?

In 1886, the Supreme Court held in Wabash v. Illinois that only Congress could regulate interstate shipping rates. By enacting the Interstate Commerce Act in 1886, Congress established the first regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission. Congress charged the Commission with ensuring that railroad rates were "reasonable and just."


How did the Supreme Court's decision in Wabash v. Illinois (1886) limit the effects of the Granger Laws?

In Wabash v. Illinois, the Court held that while states had the right to regulate railroads that operated solely within their borders, only Congress could regulate long-haul shipping rates, i.e. rates charged to ship goods from one state to another.

The Court's decision limited the early rulings in the Granger Cases (1877) to only intrastate railroads, and provoked outcry from small farmers throughout the Midwest.



Specie refers to coined money (typically silver or gold).


What was the difference between soft-money and hard-money advocates?

Between the Civil War and the First World War, soft-money advocates argued that paper money should be issued that was not tied to the amount of gold in the U.S. Treasury. By the 1880s, soft-money advocates also pushed for increased silver coinage.

Hard-money advocates wanted to limit the amount of currency in circulation to the amount of gold possessed by the U.S. Treasury.



Bimetallism is a monetary standard by which the value of the monetary unit is defined as both the value of an amount of silver and the value of an amount of gold.


Why did farmers and small businessmen support the continuation of Greenbacks as national currency during the later half of the 1800s?

Greenbacks were issued as currency during the Civil War. Since Greenbacks were not backed by specie they were worth less than their value in gold (i.e. $1 in Greenbacks bought less than $1 in gold).

Farmers and small businessmen continued to advocate their use after the end of the War because it was cheaper to pay debt using Greenbacks rather than gold. Further, those who supported Greenbacks believed their use increased the price of farm products.


Many in the Republican Party opposed the continued use of Greenbacks during the 1860s and 1870s. Why?

Greenbacks were not backed by specie (gold or silver). Believing that specie-backed dollars would better hold their value, bankers, investors, and established businessmen argued against Greenbacks, contending that dollars backed by specie would better hold their value against inflation.


How did President Grant propose to handle the question of Greenbacks during the early 1870s?

Grant proposed to let the Greenbacks appreciate in value until $1 in Greenbacks was worth roughly $1 in gold, and then retire the Greenbacks with a limited amount of economic disruption. Grant proved unable to get his proposal adopted by Congress.


What did soft-money advocates term "The Crime of '73"?

"The Crime of '73" refers to the Coinage Act of 1873. Signed by President Grant, the Coinage Act ended bimetallism, placing the United States once more on the gold standard.

Farmers and small businessmen considered the Act a crime because it would increase interest rates and restrict the money supply. Instead, they supported both Greenbacks and bimetallism.


How did farmers and Northern laborers propose to bring the United States out of the economic depression that followed the Panic of 1873?

Farmers and Northern laborers wanted to increase the monetary supply by having the government print more Greenbacks and coin silver. President Grant disagreed and threatened to veto any legislation to that effect.


What caused the Panic of 1873?

The Panic of 1873 was ostensibly caused by the failure of Jay Cooke & Co. to market several million dollars worth of railroad bonds, but it had several deeper causes. These included a constriction in the monetary supply caused by the Coinage Act of 1873 and the precarious financial position of many railroads.

The Panic led to a lengthy economic depression, which lasted until 1879.


What was the Farmers' Alliance?

The Farmers' Alliance was officially a nationwide movement that thrived in the 1880s and 1890s, encompassing many regional farmers' movements such as the Grange, the Colored Farmers' National Alliance and Cooperative Union, and the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union.

The Farmers' Alliance entered politics in 1892 when it formed the backbone of the Populist Party.


What were the Ocala Demands?

In 1890, several regional farmers' alliances gathered in Ocala, Florida, where they drafted the Ocala Demands. In part, the Demands advocated:

increased federal regulation of the railroads
an income tax
lower tariffs
silver currency
a federally regulated banking system
The Ocala Demands were incorporated into the Omaha Platform, the founding document of the Populist Party.


In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner published his essay The Frontier in American History. What did Turner argue?

Turner argued that America's success was due to the American Frontier.

As Americans moved west, each succeeding generation discarded elements of European political and social culture which were no longer valuable, such as established churches and a small group of landowners; becoming instead individualistic, independent, and less tolerant of hierarchy.