Study Guide I. Linking East and West

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Chapter 3

Lessons 1 - 3

Study Guide
I. Linking East and West

1. In the 1850’s you had 2 choices of travel

A. Stagecoach – uncomfortable, used horses

B. Sailing – Sail to Panama, then to California

  1. The Pony Express – a fast way to deliver mail using horse riders. It was a 2000 mile relay race.

  1. In 1861, the telegraph line (invented by Samuel Morse) was completed. Telegraph – a way to send coded messages along wires using electricity. Using Morse code, messages could be sent in a few minutes!

II. The Transcontinental Railroad

  1. A railroad built by 2 companies across the continent. (Be able to label on map)

A. Union Pacific Company

B. Central Pacific Company

  1. The government paid the 2 companies in land and money for every mile of track completed (It’s a race for $$$$!!!)

  1. The Union Pacific Company had to hire former Confederate soldier and former enslaved African-Americans.

  1. The Native-Americans were not happy with the railroad because it cut through their homes and hunting areas.

  1. The Central Pacific hired Chinese immigrants to do the dangerous work on the railroad. They had to blast through the mountains. Many were killed.

  1. It took 7 years to complete the railroad! Two companies met at Promontory Point, UTAH.

To celebrate, a golden spike was driven into the railroad tracks.

III. Pioneers on the Great Plains
The Homestead Act - a law signed in 1862 offering free land to people willing to start new farms

on the Great Plains. You had to follow these rules:

1) Be 21 years or older

2) Claim the land

3) Pay a fee ($10)

4) Remain on the land for 5 years. You must farm on it!

Homesteader – a settler who claimed land using the Homestead Act

Sodbuster – a farmer in the Great Plains who had to rip up tough grass before planting crops.

Exoduster – African-Americans who left the South and moved to the Great Plains to farm.

Why was sod a useful building material for homesteaders?

  1. The Great Plains had few trees for building houses.

  2. Sod was durable, thick, and strong.

  3. It kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

  4. It was fireproof.

  5. It was plentiful.

How did European farmers contribute to the success of the farming on the Great Plains?

They introduced new farming techniques and new crop varieties.
What challenges made life difficult for homesteaders?

  1. Harsh weather (blizzards, blazing heat, floods…)

  2. Natural disasters (tornadoes, hailstorms…)

  3. Grasshoppers!

How did railroads help the West to grow?

  1. Railroads helped transport people and supplies to the West.

  2. They linked the West to the markets of the East.

List and explain different forms of Farming Technology on the Great Plains.

  1. Steel Plows

    1. John Deere invented steel plow for tough sod

  2. Windmills

    1. Pumped water from deep underground

    2. Steady winds on the Great Plains helped

  3. Barbed Wire

    1. Barbed fences kept animals away from crops

  4. Dry Farming

    1. A method for farming during dry weather

    2. Moisture was stored in soil

IV. Cowboys and Miners
By how much did the price of one longhorn in Texas and in eastern cities differ? Why?

Texas = $4.00 each because they were plentiful.

Eastern cities = $40.00 each because they were scarce.

Cattle Drivea huge herd of cattle guided by cowboys. The cattle were called Texas longhorns.

There were about 5 MILLION of them! Ranchers or cowboys got the cattle across the country by cattle drives!


* 16 hour days, 7 days a week, for 2-3 months!

* Adventurous, dangerous, exhausting

* At night, cowboys took turns sleeping and watching/guarding the herds.

Stampede – an entire herd of cattle would run WILDLY! To keep animals calm, cowboys would sing to them.
* Traveled along railroad tracks. One popular trail was called – The Goodnight Loving Trail.
Cowboys ranged from 15 – 69 years of age! 1/3 were Mexican Americans or African Americans.

Cattle Drives ended because:

1. The arrival and expansion of railroads

  1. Spread of fencing on farms

Gold Rush is a period of time when people went West in search of gold. In the late 1840’s, gold was discovered in California! Thousands of people traveled there to find gold. This was called The Gold Rush. In 1859, gold was discovered in the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado. A new Gold Rush was ON!

Boomtowns were created because of the MASSIVE amount of people moving and settling in towns to find gold.
HOWEVER, when all the gold was gone…. GHOST TOWNS were created! (People left!)
Entrepreneur – a person starts a new business. Example: Levi Strauss invented BLUE JEANS!
Search and discovery of gold caused:

  1. Thousands of people to move west

  2. Boomtowns to be made (success happened!) Example: Chicago, San Francisco

Conflict on the Plains
1860’s – Thousands of settlers moved to Great Plains.

CONFLICT CHART – Know View Points! (Act out with parent for a review)
US Government Lakota Tribe
1. Wanted the nation to grow and expand 1. Felt that their way was threatened.
2. Felt American Indians should be moved 2. Agreed to move to the Black Hills reservation

onto reservations to avoid conflict

3. Believed that nothing should keep them 3. Refused to sell Black Hills reservation

from their natural resources (gold).

Wars in the West
1. The Battle of Little Bighorn

Colonel George Custer (US) vs. Chief Sitting Bull (Lakota)

US lost at first (many killed) then sent more troops in… Lakota were forced to leave.

Black Hills open for mining gold.
2. Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce’

US Government vs Chief Joseph

US forced Native Americans to leave their land too! 

3. US Government vs Geronimo

US forced this tribe to leave Wounded Knee, South Dakota (over 300 Lakota killed!)

3 Ways the Native Americans are keeping their traditions alive today.

  1. Preserving native languages (still speaking and teaching it).

  2. Recording stories of history and ways of life (books, movies, etc.).

  3. Seeking greater control of their reservation lands.

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