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In What Ways Did Three Of The Following Affect The Development Of The West: Barbed Wire, Railroads, Mc Cormick Reaper, And The End Of The Indian Wars?

1062 words - 5 pages

The West is a very big part of American culture, and while the myth of the West is much more enticing than the reality of the west, it is no doubt a very big part of America. We’re constantly growing up playing games surrounded by the West such as cowboys and Indians and we’re watching movies that depict the cowboy to be a romanticized hero who constantly saves dames in saloons and rides off into the sunset. However, the characters of the West weren’t the only things that helped the development of America; many inventions were a part of the development of the West and helped it flourish into a thriving community. Barbed wire, the McCormick reaper and railroads—for example—were a large part of the development in the West—from helping to define claimed land boundaries, agricultural development and competition, and even growth of the West.
Claimed land boundaries could only be distinguished from open range by the people that owned the claimed land for quite a while. This would obviously become controversial when one person claimed that they owned this land for so many years, and then another settler decides that they claimed the land first. The invention of barbed wire helped to end the disputes over land by defining claimed land boundaries with fences topped with the sharp, twisted wire. While the invention of fencing brought an end to the idea of an open range for cattle drivers and the romanticized cowboys of the West, it also helped farmers and ranchers define the area of their land. Before the invention of barbed wire, people were forced to use shrubs and other types of plants that could define their land—with the lack of trees on the open plains, it was hard to find raw material to create an actual fence to claim their land. Barbed wire became the substitute for these shrubs and plants and helped create the idea of a closed in plain, rather than the open plain that cattle drivers had become attached to. With this miracle invention, it helped settlers divide the area of the plains better than just estimating an amount of area for them to control, and helped ranchers and farmers control their crops and livestock. While barbed wire was mostly beneficial for the ranchers and farmers, their relationships became slightly sour when ranchers came upon the realization of losing grazing land to farmers, and decided to begin fencing area that they didn’t even have the legal claim for. Obviously this became a problem and President Grover decided to crack down on the illegal fencing going on in the West and banned barbed wire from public lands and Indian reservations. All inventions have their flaws, however, and once illegal fencing was brought to an end, the benefits of barbed wire outweighed the illegal fencing aspect of it. Overall, barbed wire may have brought an end to the idea of open plains, it also helped agricultural development in a more controlled environment.
Another invention that helped with agricultural development, in more than one way,...

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