Chapter 27 Review Guide
The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution (1865-1890)
Indians Embattled in the West
After the close of the Civil War, the American West (~1000 miles square) was largely settled by non-white people, with only a few exceptions (i.e.
Mormons, trading posts etc.)
The Great West was originally the home of the Indian (~360,000 in 1860), the buffalo, the wild horse, prairie dog and coyote.
By 1890, the entire
domain had been converted into states.
But these all stood in the way of the white settlers, who spread from both the west coast, and the trans-
As whites spread, the brought about many changes that negatively effected the environment of the Great West.
They introduced diseases, and
greatly reduced the bison population through over hunting.
Since the food source of the Indians became scarce, much quarreling had to take
place over hunting grounds.
The Sioux, who were displaced by the Chippewas from their lands near the Mississippi, were quite aggressive, and
displaced the Crows, Kiowas, and Pawnees when whites arrived.
The Federal gov’t tried to make peace with the Plains Indians by signing treaties at Ft. Laramie in 1851, and Ft. Atkinson in 1853.
This marked the
beginning of the reservation system in the West. The Indians didn’t like this though, since they were by now, quite nomadic, and unused to being
confined to a certain territory.
In the 1860s, the gov’t intensified this policy and herded the Indians into smaller confines, such as the “Great Sioux reservation”.
But as usual,
the white government dealt through trickery.
The Indians only surrendered their lands when they received promises from Washington that they
would be left alone, and provided with food, clothing and other supplies, so as usual, our corrupt government was unable to fulfill their part.
Whites also flagrantly disregarded treaty promises, and openly seized the Indians’ land, slaughtered their game, and occasionally debauched their
This triggered the aggressive Sioux, who murdered several hundred settlers during the Civil War.
From 1868 to 1890, there was incessant warfare between Indians and whites in the West.
The white fighters were largely immigrants, who fled
from Europe to avoid service.
Many were also black.
Generals Sherman Sheridan and Custer lead many whites in such engagements.
the Indians were often better armed than their white counterparts, due to the fur-traders.
Receding Native Population
Whites often murdered peaceful Indians on site just to make sure the Indians wouldn’t give them any trouble.
At Sand Creek, Colorado, in 1864,
Col. J.M. Chivington’s militia massacred ~ 400 Indians who thought they had been promised immunity.
Also, whites killed innocent Indians just for
The Indians felt it necessary to fight back, and in 1866, a group of Sioux ambushed Captain William Fetterman’s command, in Wyoming’s Big Horn