Major Issues For America After The Civil War Untill 1900

1972 words - 8 pages

Changes in American LifeAfter the civil war America had extreme changes in the way it functioned as a society. The west was being developed which, in turn, drove the Native Americans out. Business was booming which caused hardship with farmers, and foreigners were flooding into America with hopes of a better life. Though the people of this era may have not known at the time, they were shaping America into what would become the nation it is today.During the end of the nineteenth century more than two million people moved into the west. Before the civil war many looked over the west and either settled on the east coast or in California. There was a large amount of new immigrants partaking in the westward movement; however most were native born Americans. For all migrants the idea of moving west brought the thought of a better life.The westward movement was aided by the Homestead Act. In 1862 Congress launched the Homestead Act which offered anyone willing to move west 160 acres of land for ten dollars. Although the Homestead Act was very important in developing the west it mostly benefited wealthy business men. Another group of people the Homestead Act and westward movement hurt were the Native Americans.In 1865 about 250,000 Native Americans lived in the western part of the country. These Native Americans were members of various Plains tribes. Cheyenne, Crow, Arapaho, Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, and Sioux Indians were the major tribes of the Great Plaines during this time. The lives of these tribes varied from each other but all were much more diverse than the white mans way of living.Before the mid of the nineteenth century land west of the Mississippi was deemed "Indian Country". The white man would move eastern tribes to this region and prohibited the white population from settling in this region as well. However this protected land started to get trampled over by the white man expanding into their territory. This was causing tensions to rise between the Native Americans and the White man. In 1851 the Department of Indian Affairs decided to divide the Indian lands in to smaller more defined areas to help with the white mans flow through the area and in hopes that this would help ease the tension between the Indians and white travelers. They offered the Indians 50,000 dollars worth of supplies every year for fifty years for the encroachment of their lands. This Treaty did nothing to fix the problems.In 1864 Cheyenne and Apache warriors were invited to meet with the territorial governor in Sand Creek. While on their journey, Chief Black Kettle and the men he was leading were ambushed by Colonel John M. Chivington. Chivington and the Colorado militia men he led killed and scalped many of the Indians that Chief Black Kettle was leading. This caused the Plains to erupt into war.In 1874 there were reports that the black hills were rich in gold. The government offered to buy the land for six million dollars. The Native Americans thought of this land to...

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