The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution
1. Why does the author refer to America as an “acquisitive nation” on page 634? What does this mean in comparison with the culture of Native peoples? What specifically were the specific provocations by whites that often precipitated Indian warfare?
2. Look at the litany of Native displacement that is described beginning in the left hand column on p. 634 through the first half of the right column of text. Think back to our discussions last semester. What caused that wave of migration and warfare?
3. What were basic terms of the treaties between Native nations and the US government in the post-Civil War era?Describe the main characteristics of the reservation system. What benefits did it have for the United States? What facets of Native culture made true negotiation with them difficult? What effect did this have on the legitimacy of treaties?
4. What was a “Buffalo Soldier,” besides being a great song by Bob Marley?
5. Describe the Sand Creek massacre. How fair were the battles between indigenous warriors and the US Army in terms of weaponry, etc.? How did Helen Hunt Jackson and other reformers describe the treatment of the Indians?
6. What did Custer do to upset the peace after the Treaty of Ft. Laramie? What eventually happened to him?
7. How did Lt. William Fetterman indirectly lead to the establishment of the Sioux reservation—and the Battle of Little Big Horn?
8. What was unusual about the Battle of Little Big Horn? Why did the Nez Perce rebel, and what happened to them?
9. How did railroads affect Native American fortunes? How did they affect farmers (see p. 656)?
10. What methods were used to force Indians to assimilate? What about the buffalo?
11. What caused the “Battle” of Wounded Knee? Why is this battle considered to be significant?
12. What were the main features of the Dawes Severalty Act? What were its consequences?
13. What does “Kill the Indian and save the man” mean, and where did that saying come from? How did alleged “friends of the Indian” attempt to “help” the Indians?
14. What was the Comstock Lode? Where was it? What was the significance of the mining frontier in settling whites in the West (and upsetting the Indians)?
15. Women who were able to vote before 1900 were most likely to live where, and why?
16. How did the railroads influence the cattle industry? Describe the Long Drives and their routes. What were the main “cow towns?”
17. What developments forced the development of cattle raising as a big business?
18. What were the provisions of the Homestead Act? What were the advantages and the weaknesses of the Act?
19. What was the difference between the lands to the east of the 100th meridian and those west of it? Wallace Stegner wrote a book entitled “Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West.” What do you think this book is about? What does a hydraulic engineer do (see p. 648)?
20. Who were the sooners, the eighty-niners, and the boomers?
21. Why did farmers convert to cash crops? What effects did this have? How was agriculture mechanized?
22. What pressures did farmers face? What were the Grange and the Farmers’ Alliance? Who did farmers blame for their troubles, and how accurate was that? What happened to prices for farm goods, and why?
23. What were the main beliefs of the Populists? Who was William Jennings Bryan, and what was his point in his “Cross of Gold” speech?
24. Who were “Coxey’s Army?” What happened to them?
25. What did the US government do during the Pullman strike? What does “government by injunction” mean?
26. What was the main beef between “gold bugs” and “silverites?” What did the Gold standard Act do?
27. Summarize some of the main criticisms of Jackson’s frontier thesis.
28. Who were the main Indian leaders mentioned in your book? Match them with their tribe, and the basic area in which they operated (for instance: Chief Joseph, Nez Perce, Nez Perce, Oregon, surrendered to Oliver O Howard, 1877)