American Pageant, Volume 1: American Pageant Chapter 26 Flashcards

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Great American Desert

Region between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. Vast domain became accessible to Americans wishing to settle there. This region was called the "Great American Desert" in atlases published between 1820 and 1850, and many people were convinced this land was a Sahara habitable only to Indians. The phrase had been coined by Major Long during his exploration of the middle portion of the Louisiana Purchase region.


"Concentration" policy

The creation of Indian reservations that allowed the government to force tribes into scattered locations, often with land unfitted for agriculture


Sand Creek Massacre (1864)

an incident in the Indian Wars of the United States that occurred when a force of Colorado militia attacked and destroyed a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.


Sitting Bull

American Indian medicine man, chief, and political leader of his tribe at the time of the Custer massacre during the Sioux War


Crazy Horse

A chief of the Sioux who resisted the invasion of the Black Hills and joined Sitting Bull in the defeat of General Custer at Little Bighorn



Apache chieftain who raided the white settlers in the Southwest as resistance to being confined to a reservation


Gen. George A. Custer

United States general who was killed along with all his command by the Sioux at the battle of Little Bighorn


Battle of Little Big Horn

A particularly violent example of the warfare between whites and Native Americans in the late nineteenth century, also know as "Custer's Last Stand." In two days, June 25 and 26, 1876, the combined forces of over 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians defeated and killed more than 250 U.S. soldiers, including Colonel George Custer. The battle came as the U.S. government tried to compel Native Americans to remain on the reservations and Native Americans tried to defend territory from white gold-seekers. This Indian advantage did not last long, however, as the union of these Indian fighters proved tenuous and the United States Army soon exacted retribution.


Chief Joseph

Leader of Nez Perce. Fled with his tribe to Canada instead of reservations. However, US troops came and fought and brought them back down to reservations


"Ghost Dance"

A ritual the Sioux performed to bring back the buffalo and return the Native American tribes to their land.


Battle of Wounded Knee, SD

A battle between the U.S. Army and the Dakota Sioux, in which several hundred Native Americans and 29 U.S. soldiers died. Tensions erupted violently over two major issues: the Sioux practice of the "Ghost Dance," which the U.S. government had outlawed, and the dispute over whether Sioux reservation land would be broken up because of the Dawes Act.


Dawes Severalty Act (1887)

An act that broke up Indian reservations and distributed land to individual households. Leftover land was sold for money to fund U.S. government efforts to "civilize" Native Americans. Of 130 million acres held in Native American reservations before the Act, 90 million were sold to non-Native buyers.


Bureau of Indian Affairs

created (1824) in the U.S. War Dept. and transferred (1849) to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. The War Dept. managed Native American affairs after 1789, but a separate bureau was not set up for many years. It had jurisdiction over trade with Native Americans, their removal to the West, their protection from exploitation, and their concentration on reservations. Because of wide dissatisfaction in the West over army administration of Native American affairs, the responsibility was given to the Dept. of the Interior and reorganized. The new bureau was no more successful than its predecessor in preventing wars with Native Americans or in protecting their rights.


Helen Hunt Jackson

A writer. Author of the 1881 book A Century of Dishonor. The book exposed the U.S. governments many broken promises to the Native Americans. For example the government wanted Native Americans to assimilate, i.e. give up their beliefs and ways of life, that way to become part of the white culture.


A Century of Dishonor

Written by Helen Maria Hunt Jackson and published in 1881, Century of Dishonor called attention to what Jackson termed the government's "shameful record of broken treaties and unfulfilled promises" and helped spark calls for the reform of federal Indian policy.


sod house

home made of chunks of grassy soil built by the pioneers of the Great Plains.


Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)

Bill passed by Congress in response to labor disputes that prohibited all immigration from China until 1943.


Frederick Jackson Turner

United States historian who stressed the role of the western frontier in American history (1861-1951)


"Turner Frontier Thesis"

Theory put forth by Frederick Turner that stated the frontier was the source of American vitality and exceptionalism.


Comstock Lode

first major U.S. discovery of silver ore, located under what is now Virginia City, Nevada, on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, a peak in the Virginia Range. After the discovery was made public in 1859, prospectors rushed to the area and scrambled to stake their claims. Mining camps soon thrived in the vicinity, which became bustling centers of fabulous wealth.


cow town

towns where cattle were held in pens until they could be loaded into railroad cars and shipped into markets in the East


Chisholm Trail

the major long drive route north from Texas to Ablilene, Kansas, where cowboys drove herds of cattle to the railroads to be shipped back East for huge profits



the African Americans migrating to the Great Plains state (ie: Kansas & Oklahoma) in 1879 to escape conditions in the South


"Buffalo Bill" Cody

This former pony express rider and Indian fighter and hero of popular dime novels for children traveled around the U.S. and Europe and put on popular Wild West shows. The shows included re-enactments of Indian battles and displays of horsemanship and riflery


Frederick Jackson Turner

American historian who said that humanity would continue to progress as long as there was new land to move into. The frontier provided a place for homeless and solved social problems.


Frontier Thesis

The argument by Frederick Jackson Turner that the frontier experience helped make American society more democratic; emphasized cheap, unsettled land and the absence of a landed aristocracy.



Allies withe the Sioux at Battle of Little Big Horn


Sioux Wars

lasted from 1876-1877. These were spectacular clashes between the Sioux Indians and white men. They were spurred by gold-greedy miners rushing into Sioux land. The white men were breaking their treaty with the Indians. The Sioux Indians were led by Sitting Bull and they were pushed by Custer's forces. Custer led these forces until he was killed at the battle at Little Bighorn. Many of the Indian were finally forced into Canada, where they were forced by starvation to surrender.


Great Sioux Reservation

In the 1860s, the federal government herded the Indians into smaller confines; in Dakota Territory


Indian Territory

An area to which Native Americans were moved covering what is now Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Nebraska


Buffalo Soldiers

Nickname for African-American soldiers who fought in the wars against Native Americans living on the Great Plains during the 1870s


Fetterman Massacre (1866)

Sioux war party attempting to block construction of the Bozeman Trail to Montana ambushed Captain Fetterman's command of 81 soldiers in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains


Sun Dance

Ritual of the Lakota and other tribes of the North American Plains that celebrates the new year and prepares the tribe for the annual buffalo hunt; performed in the late spring or early summer in a specially constructed lodge.


Carlisle School

1879-1918. was a school intended to "americanize" indian children to try to adapt them to the white culture. most children eventually went back to the reservations so the experiment didn't fully work.


forced assimilation

forcing an ethnic group to adopt the culture of a dominant group



People who went to California looking for Gold (They left in 1849)


Pike's Peakers

people who rushed to the Rockies after gold and silver were found.



short-lived boomtowns characterized by the lack of law and order and the saloon. These were romanticized in later periods as the model of the "Wild West." They were called "Helldorados" because of the dangerous conditions in the mines, where 1 in 80 men died and 1 in 30 disabled, but the survivors lived well.


Silver Senators

Politicians who used their influence to promote the interests of Silver Miners in Congress


Long Drive

Refers to the overland transport of cattle by the cowboy over the three month period. Cattle were sold to settlers and Native Americans.


Homestead Act

1862 - Provided free land in the West to anyone willing to settle there and develop it. Encouraged westward migration.


Steel Plow

Invented by John Deere and was strong enough to cut through the tough prairie sod of the Midwest and the Plains.



name given to Great Plains farmers because they had to break through so much thick soil, called sod, in order to farm


John Wesley Powell

Explorer and geologist who warned that traditional agriculture could not succeed west of the 100th meridian



In 1889, people who illegally claimed land by sneaking past government officials before the land races began


1890 Census

the frontier was officially settle and used many different types of information that wasn't able to be measured before such as jobs, race, age, etc. Frontier "closed"


National Parks Act

Created Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks.


Bonanza wheat farms

these farms of the Minnesota-North Dakota area were enormous; by 1890, at least 6 of these were larger than 15 thousand acres, with communication by telephone from one part to another



an association formed by farmers in the last 1800s to make life better for farmers by sharing information about crops, prices, and supplies


Oliver H. Kelley

(GC), considered the "Father" of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (more commonly known as "The Grange"). a fraternal organization for American farmers that encouraged farm families to band together for their common economic and political good.


Greenback Labor Party

Political party devoted to improving the lives of laborers and raising inflation, reaching its high point in 1878 when it polled over a million votes and elected fourteen members of Congress.


Colored Farmers' National Alliance

More than 1 million southern black farmers organized and shared complaints with poor white farmers. By 1890 membership numbered more than 250,000. The history of racial division in the South, made it hard for white and black farmers to work together in the same org.


Populists (People's Party)

Third political party that emerged in the 1890s to express rural grievances and mount major attacks on the Democrats and Republicans


William Hope Harvey

Wrote a popular pamphlet titled Coin's Financial School; this pamphlet overwhelmed the bankers and professors of economics with his brilliant arguments on behalf of free silver


Ignatius Donnelly, 1890s

Politician, author, editor, and one of the founders of the People's Party (Populist Party). Donnelly got into politics in the 1850s as a Republican. In 1874 he broke with the Republicans and in the 1880s got active in the Minnesota Farmers' Alliance. He worked for land grants to railroads, helped create a national bureau of education, and made the first speech in Congress urging the forestation of public lands.


Omaha Platform

Political agenda adopted by the populist party in 1892 at their Omaha, Nebraska convention. Called for unlimited coinage of silver (bimetallism), government regulation of railroads and industry, graduated income tax, and a number of election reforms.


Mary Elizabeth Lease

Known as "Mary Yellin'" and "the Kansas Pythoness," she made about 160 speeches in 1890. She criticized Wall Street and the wealthy, and cried that Kansans should raise "less corn and more hell."


Panic of 1893 Causes

Over speculation Stock-market crash, Overproduction


Coxey's Army (1894)

unemployed workers led by Jacob Coxey who marched to Washington demanding a government road-building program and currency inflation for the needy; Coxey was arrested for stepping on grass at the Capitol and the movement collapsed.


Pullman Strike (1894)

Workers rebelled because the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages by 1/3 and the American Federation of Labor refused to support the strikers. Military action was needed in order to keep mail delivery on track.


Eugene V. Debs

Head of the American Railway Union and director of the Pullman strike; he was imprisoned along with his associates for ignoring a federal court injunction to stop striking. While in prison, he read Socialist literature and emerged as a Socialist leader in America.


William McKinley

25th president responsible for Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and the Annexation of Hawaii, imperialism. Is assassinated by an anarchist


Mark Hanna

An industrialist and Republican politician from Ohio. The campaign manager of McKinley in the 1896, in what is considered the forerunner of the modern political campaign, and subsequently became one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate.


William Jennings Bryan

United States lawyer and politician who advocated free silver and prosecuted John Scopes (1925) for teaching evolution in a Tennessee high school (1860-1925)


Cross of Gold Speech (1896)

Given by Bryan on June 18, 1896, at the national convention of the Democratic Party. - The speech criticized the gold standard and supported the coinage of silver. - The last words of his speech became famous - "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."


Gold Bugs

referred to those who favored basing the US monetary system on gold to the exclusion of silver


Free Silver

Political issue involving the unlimited coinage of silver, supported by farmers and William Jennings Bryan


Dingly Tariff

The Dingley Act of 1897, introduced by U.S. Representative Nelson Dingley, Jr., of Maine, raised tariffs in United States to counteract the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894, which had lowered rates. Came into effect under William McKinley the first year that he was in office.


Gold Standard Act

Signed by McKinley in 1900 and stated that all paper money must be backed only by gold. This meant that the government had to hold large gold reserves in case people wanted to trade in their money. Also eliminated silver coins in circulation.