The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 26 is the West was opened up for settlement. This meant the Native Americans were forced out for farmers, miners, and ranchers.
- Native Americans out West faced two options: agree to settle on a reservation or fight the U.S. Army as “hostiles.” Some chose reservations, others to fight, but all were cleared out.
- Miners looking for silver and/or gold fled to Colorado and Nevada seeking quick fortune. A few found it, the vast majority didn’t.
- Cattle became king in Texas as cowboys drove herds north to the Kansas railroads and reaped quick money.
- Farmers struggled out west due to several problems: weather, insects, high mortgage rates, high railroad shipping rates, and low prices for their crops.
- The farmers’ struggles led to the People’s (or Populist) Party. This party sought “cheap money” (or silver money) in order to create inflation and thus make it easier to pay off debts.