Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Summer of 2017 Part 5

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The American West Part 2

The time from 1776 to 1865 included some of the most powerful historical events involving the American West. That time definitely caused monumental changes in the North American continent for real. There were many battles of the Revolutionary War to the west of the Appalachian Mountains and in the Midwest too. Soon, the British forces were defeated by the American forces by the end the Revolutionary War in 1783. During that era, the settlers and pioneers readily lived in one room log cabins in the frontier. Many of them ate deer, turkeys, and other animals. Many of them used horses to travel into farther distances. Native American tribes were constant victims of attack and murder by many settlers and their lands were increasingly stolen. As the 19th century progressed, changes existed. American settlers traveled into the Northwest Territory as found in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, etc. Daniel Boone was a famous frontiersperson as well. He came from Virginia into central Kentucky. Back then, Kentucky was part of Virginia. The Wilderness Road in Kentucky by the 1700’s and 1800’s were home to many attacks. During the 19th century, the fur trade expanded. The federal postal system grew in the frontier West. Scientists, artists, and explorers existed too. The evil, bigoted doctrine of Manifest Destiny was embraced by many. Manifest Destiny is the myth that settlers (especially those of European descent) have the destiny to control all of the lands of the North American continent from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean (plus beyond). The Santa Fe Trail in the Southwest carried goods and services. Mexico became independent via the Mexican Revolution and Texas became independent in a controversial fashion via the Texas Revolution. The Oregon Trail allowed people to travel in the Northwest of the Pacific. Religions developed like Mormonism in the west. Joseph Smith was the founder of Mormonism. This era ends with the conclusion of the Civil War. Battles in the West during the Civil War existed. By 1865, railroads grew, technology became more advanced, and immigrants from China, Germany, and Scandinavia came into America. A new era was born and the continued oppression against Native Americans by imperialists unfortunately persisted. The American West has a complex historical story that must be told.

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The Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) didn’t just exist in the East Coast and in the South. It also existed in the Midwest and the western territories west of the Appalachian Mountains (which is part of the frontier region). There were many battles between American and British forces in the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes region. From 1775 to 1782, these battles existed. America allied with Spain to fight British forces. British forces allied with many Native American tribes like the Shawnee, Miami, Lenape, Seneca, and the Wyandot. American leaders included George Rogers Clark, William Crawford, who allied with Francisco Cruzat and Fernando de Leyba. The British had leaders like Henry Hamilton, Arent DePeyster, Blackfish, and Captain Pipe. There were conflicts in the Northwest Territory, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. British forces fought in Detroit and American settlers were found in south and east of the Ohio River. The Ohio River was a boundary for many settlers. The British used the Proclamation of 1763 to prevent British colonists to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains. This came after the French and Indian War in order to stop conflict between Native Americans and colonists in the vast territory newly acquired from France. Settlers continued to disregard the Proclamation and they just traveled into the area. The British negotiated 2 treaties with Native Americans in 1768. They were the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour—which opened up land for settlement south of the Ohio River. Thereafter, tensions between British officials and colonists over western land policy diminished. The problem was that most of the Native Americans who lived and hunted in the Ohio Valley (i.e. the Shawnees, the Mingos, the Delawares, and the Wyandots) had not been consulted in the 1768 treaties.

Angry with the Iroquois for selling their lands to the British, the Shawnees began to organize a confederacy of western Native Americans with the intention of preventing the loss of their lands. British and Iroquois officials worked to diplomatically isolate the Shawnees from other Native American nations, however, and so when Dunmore's War broke out in 1774, Shawnees faced the Virginia militia with few allies. After Virginia's victory in the war, the Shawnees were compelled to accept the Ohio River boundary. Shawnee and Mingo leaders who did not agree with these terms and renewed the struggle soon after the American Revolutionary War began in 1775.

Neutrality and small raids

During the start of the war, the British and the Continental Congress wanted to keep the Western Native Americans out of the war. At Fort Pitt in October 1775, Native American and American leaders reaffirmed the boundary formed Dunmore’s War the previous year. Without British support, Native American leaders such as Chief Blackfish (Shawnee) and Pluggy (Mingo) raided into Kentucky, hoping to drive the settlers out. Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia wanted to retaliate by attacking Pluggy's Town in the Ohio Country, but he canceled the expedition for fear that the militia would be unable to distinguish between neutral and hostile Native Americans. That would thus make enemies of the neutral Delawares and Shawnees. Nevertheless, Shawnees and Delawares became increasingly divided over whether or not to take part in the war. While leaders such as White Eyes (Delaware) and Cornstalk (Shawnee) urged neutrality, Buckongahelas (Delaware) and Blue Jacket (Shawnee) decided to fight against the Americans. In Kentucky, many isolated settlers and hunters were attacked. Many of them returned to the East. That is why by the spring of 1776, less than 200 colonists remained in Kentucky. Most were in the fortified settlements of Boonesborough, Harrodsburg, and Logan’s Station. In December 1776, Pluggy was killed in an Attack on McClellan's Station, which was located on the site of present Georgetown, Kentucky.

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By 1777, there was an escalation of tensions. In that year, the British launched a major offensive from Canada. They wanted to provide a strategic diversion for operations in the Northeast. Officials in Detroit started to recruit and arm Native American war parties to raid American settlements. Many unknown members of American settlers were killed in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The conflict increased after enraged American militiamen murdered Cornstalk, who was the leading advocate of Shawnee neutrality. In November 1777, Cornstalk was murdered.  Despite the violence, many Ohio Native Americans still hoped to stay out of the war. This was a difficult task because they were located directly between the British in Detroit and the Americans along the Ohio River.


During the early part of the war, the Virginians wanted to defend the western border with militiamen. They garrisoned 3 forts along the Ohio River. Their names are Fort Pitt, Fort Henry, and Fort Randolph. They had a hard time to defend the forts, because American Native Americans just bypassed the forts during their raids. In 1778, the Americans decided that offensive operations were necessary to secure the western border. The first American expedition into the Ohio County was a debacle. In February 1778, General Edward Hand led 500 Pennsylvania militiamen from Fort Pitt on a surprise winter march toward Mingo towns on the Cuyahoga River. This was where the British stored military supplies which they distributed to Native Americans raiding parties. Adverse weather conditions prevented the expedition from reaching its objective, however. On the return march, some of Hand's men attacked peaceful Delaware Native Americans, killing one man and a few women and children, including relatives of the Delaware chief Captain Pipe. Because only non-combatants had been killed, the expedition became derisively known as the "squaw campaign.” Besides unruly militia, Loyalist sentiment around Pittsburgh also contributed to Hand's problems. In March 1778, three men with close ties to the British and American Native Americans left Pittsburgh, defecting to the British and Native American side. They were Simon Girty, an interpreter who had guided the "squaw campaign", Matthew Elliot, a local trader, and Alexander McKee, an agent for the British Native American Department. All three would prove to be valuable British operatives in the war. Amid much criticism, and facing a congressional investigation for allowing the men to defect, Hand resigned in May 1778.

After the escalation of the war in 1777, Americans on the western frontier wanted the Continental Congress to send protection to them. There was an investigation by the Congressional commission. It recommended in early 1778 that two regiments of the Continental Army should be stationed in the West. Also, there was a defensive line of forts that had little effect on Native American raids into the American settlements. The commissioners then called for a fort to be built on the Native American side of the Ohio River. This was the first in a line of forts that would enable the Americans (it was hoped by them) to mount an expedition against Detroit.

Hollidays Cove Fort was a Revolutionary War fortification constructed in 1774 by soldiers from Ft. Pitt. It was located in what is now downtown Weirton, West Virginia, along Harmons Creek (named for Harmon Greathouse).That location was about three miles from its mouth on the Ohio River. It was commanded by Colonel Andrew Van Swearingen (1741–1793) and later by his son-in-law, Captain Samuel Brady (1756–1795), the famous leader of Brady's Rangers. In 1779, over 28 militia were garrisoned at Hollidays Cove. Two years earlier, Colonel Van Swearingen led a dozen soldiers by longboat down the Ohio to help rescue the inhabitants of Ft. Henry in Wheeling in a siege by the British and Native American tribes in 1777. That mission was memorialized in a WPA-era mural painted on the wall of the Cove Post Office by Charles S. Chapman (1879–1962). The mural features Col. John Bilderback, who later gained infamy as the leader of the massacre of the Moravian Native Americans in Gnadenhutten in 1782.

In order to build a fort in the Ohio Country, the Americans sought the approval of the Delaware Native Americans. In September 1778, Americans negotiated the Treaty of Fort Pitt with the Delawares, which resulted in the building of Fort Laurens along the Tuscarawas River. American plans soon went awry, however. White Eyes, the Delaware leader who had negotiated the treaty, was apparently murdered in 1778 by American militiamen. His rival, Captain Pipe, eventually abandoned the American alliance and moved west to the Sandusky River, where he began receiving support from the British in Detroit. Furthermore, because of intense warfare in eastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, Congress was unable to provide the manpower for operations against Detroit. Fort Laurens was abandoned in 1779.

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Clark’s Illinois Campaign

In late 1778, George Rogers Clark, or a young Virginia militia officer, launched a campaign to get the sparsely garrisoned Illinois County from the British. He had a company of volunteers. Clark captured Kaskaskia or the chief post in the Illinois Country, on July 4, 1778. It was later secured the submission of Vincennes. Vincennes was recaptured by General Henry Hamilton or the British commander of Detroit.  In February 1779, Clark marched to Vincennes in a surprise winter march and captured Hamilton himself. To American frontiersmen, Hamilton was known as "the Hair-buyer General" because, they believed, he encouraged Native Americans to kill and scalp American civilians. For this reason, Governor Thomas Jefferson brought Hamilton to Williamsburg, Virginia, to be tried as a war criminal. After British officials threatened to retaliate against American prisoners of war, Jefferson relented, and Hamilton was exchanged for an American prisoner in 1781.

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The British and Native American Response

By 1780, there was a major British and Native American offensive. During the next years of the war, both sides launched raids against each other. They usually targeted settlements. In 1780, hundreds of Kentucky settlers were killed or captured in a British-Native American expedition into Kentucky.  George Rogers Clark responded by leading an expedition in August 1780 which destroyed two Shawnee towns along the Mad River, but doing little damage to the Native American war effort. In late May Spanish-held St. Louis was attacked by a British force mostly made up of Indians and was successfully defended by the mixed Spanish and French creole force. Fort San Carlos, a stone tower in modern downtown St Louis, was the center of this defense. In the Illinois territory, French officer Augustin de La Balme assembled a militia force of French residents in an effort to take Fort Detroit. The force was destroyed in November by the Miami under Chief Little Turtle. At the same time, the nearly abandoned Fort St. Joseph was raided by Americans from Cahokia. On their return trip, however, they were overtaken by British loyalists and Native American near Petit fort.

St. Louis

During the Revolutionary War, the Spanish Governor Francisco Cruzat in St. Louis sent a force of about 140 Spanish soldiers and Native Americans under Captain Eugenio Pourre to capture Fort St. Joseph. It was captured and plundered on February 12, 1781. In late 1780, George Rogers Clark traveled east to consult with Thomas Jefferson (who was the governor of Virginia back then) about an expedition in 1781. Jefferson created a plan. This plan wanted Clark to lead 2,000 men against Detroit. Recruiting enough men was a problem. The reason was that during a time of war, most militiamen preferred to stay close to their homes instead of going on extended campaigns. Furthermore, Colonel Daniel Brodhead refused to detach the men because he was staging his own expedition against the Delawares, who had recently entered the war against the Americans. Broadhead marched into the Ohio Country and destroyed the Delaware Native American capital of Coshocton in April 1781. This only made the Delawares more determined enemies and deprived Clark of badly needed men and supplies for the Detroit campaign. Most of the Delawares fled to the militant towns on the Sandusky River. When Clark finally left Fort Pitt in August 1781, he was accompanied by only 400 men. On August 24, 1781, a detachment of one hundred of his men was ambushed near the Ohio River by Native Americans led by Joseph Brant, a Mohawk leader temporarily in the west.

Brant's victory ended Clark's efforts to move against Detroit. Between the combatants on the Sandusky River and the Americans at Fort Pitt were several villages of Christian Delawares. The villages were administered by the Moravian missionaries David Zeisberger and John Heckewelder. Although non-combatants, the missionaries favored the American cause and kept American officials at Fort Pitt informed about hostile British and Native American activity. In response, in September 1781, Wyandots and Delawares from Sandusky forcibly removed the Christian Delawares and the missionaries to a new village (Captive Town) on the Sandusky River.

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The year of 1782 of the Western theater of the American Revolutionary War was very bloody. In March of 1782, 160 Pennsylvania militiamen under Lieutenant Colonel David Williamson rode into Ohio County. He wanted to find the Native Americans who were responsible for ongoing raids against Pennsylvania settlers. Williamson accused some Native Americans of murdering a white woman and a baby. Williamson’s men detained about 100 Christian Delaware Native Americans at the village of  Gnadenhütten. The Christian Delawares had returned to Gnadenhütten from Captive Town in order to harvest the crops that they had been forced to leave behind. Accusing the Christian Native Americans of having aided Native American raiding parties, the Pennsylvanians murdered the 100 Christian Native Americans—mostly women and children—with hammer blows to the head. Colonel William Crawford of the Continental Army came out of retirement. He led 480 volunteer militiamen (mostly from Pennsylvania) deep into American Native American territory. He wanted to surprise the Native Americans. The Native Americans and their British allies from Detroit had learned about the expedition in advance. They brought about 440 men to the Sandusky to oppose the Americans. There was a day of indecisive fighting. The Americans found themselves surrounded and tried to retreat. The retreat turned into a rout, but most of the Americans managed to find their way back to Pennsylvania. About 70 Americans were killed; Native American and British losses were minimal.

During the retreat, Colonel Crawford and an unknown number of his men were captured. The Native Americans executed many of these captives in retaliation for the Gnadenhütten massacre earlier in the year, in which about 100 Native American civilians were murdered by Pennsylvania militiamen. Crawford's execution was particularly brutal: he was tortured for at least two hours before being burned at the stake. The failure of the Crawford expedition caused alarmed among the settlers along the American frontier. Many Americans feared that Native Americans would be emboldened by their victory and launch a new series of raids. There would be more defeats for the Americans. This year was bloody. On July 13, 1782, the Mingo leader Guyasuta led about 100 Native Americans and several British volunteers into Pennsylvania, destroying Hannastown and killing nine and capturing twelve settlers. It was the hardest blow dealt by Indians in Western Pennsylvania during the war.

In Kentucky, the Americans went on the defensive while Caldwell, Elliot, and McKee with their Native American allies prepared a major offensive. In March of 1782, Fort Estill was attacked by Wyandot Native Americans. Colonel Benjamin Logan, commanding officer of the region and stationed at Logan’s Station learned that the Wyandot warriors were in the area on the warpath. The Native Americans, aided by the British in Detroit, had raided from Boonsborough past Estill’s Station along the Kentucky River. Logan dispatched 15 men to Captain Estill at Estill’s Station with orders to increase his force by 25 more men and reconnoiter the country to the north and east. Captain Estill followed orders and reached the Kentucky River a few miles below the mouth of Station Camp Creek. He camped that night at Sweet Lick or known as Estill Springs. On that day after they left Estill’s Station, a group of Native Americans appeared there at dawn on March 20. They raided the fort, scalped and killed a Miss Innes in sight of the fortification and took Monk (a slave of Captain Estill) and killed all the cattle. When the Native Americans retreated, Samuel South and Peter Hackett, both young men, were dispatched to take the trail of the men and inform them of the news. The boys found them near the mouth of Drowning Creek and Red River early on the morning of March 21. Of the 40 men, approximately 20 had left families within the fort. They returned with the boys to Estill's Station. The remainder crossed the Kentucky River and found the Indian trail. Captain Estill organized a company of 25 men, followed the Native Americans, and suffered what is known as Estill's Defeat, later known as the Battle of Little Mountain (March 22, 1782) in Montgomery Co. In July 1782, more than 1,000 Native Americans gathered at Wapatomica, but the expedition was called off after scouts reported that George Rogers Clark was preparing to invade the Ohio Country from Kentucky. The reports turned out to be false, but Caldwell still managed to lead 300 Native Americans into Kentucky and deliver a devastating blow at the Battle of Blue Licks in August.

With peace negotiations between the United States and Great Britain making progress, Caldwell was ordered to cease further operations. Similarly, General Irvine had gotten permission for a Continental Army expedition into the Ohio Country, but this was cancelled. In November, George Rogers Clark delivered the final blow in the Ohio Country, destroying several Shawnee towns, but inflicting little damage on the inhabitants.

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 The End of the Revolutionary War

The war in the Northwest, in the words of historian David Curtis Scaggs, Jr. "ended in a stalemate.” In the war's final years, each side could destroy enemy settlements, but could not stay and hold the territory. For the Shawnees, the war was a loss: the Americans had successfully defended Kentucky and increased settlements there, so that prime hunting ground was now lost. Although the Native Americans had been pushed back from the Ohio River and were now settled primarily in the Lake Erie basin, the Americans could not occupy the abandoned lands for fear of Native American raids. News of the pending peace treaty arrived late in 1782. In the final treaty, the Ohio Country was signed away by Great Britain to the United States, even though "not a single American soldier was north of the Ohio River when the treaty was signed.” Great Britain had not consulted the Native Americans in the peace process, and the Native Americans were nowhere mentioned in treaty's terms. For the Native Americans, the struggle would soon continue as the Northwest Indian War, though this time without the explicit support of the British.

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Thomas Jefferson plus Lewis and Clark (Louisiana Purchase)

After the death of George Washington in 1799 (and after the unpopularity of then President John Adams who advanced the anti-civil liberty Sedition Act), there was the election of 1800. The Election was close and Thomas Jefferson won the 1800 election. Aaron Burr was the Vice President. Burr is famous for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Jefferson was an anti-Federalist. He opposed the Sedition Acts. He was a Democratic Republican. He was a person filled with contradictions. He wrote the words of “all men are created equal,” but he owned slaves and he believed in the myth of black racial inferiority. The truth is that black people are human and made great contributions throughout human history. Jefferson cut taxes and cut resources from the navy and army. He promoted westward expansion too. His advocacy of farm ownership and gaining more lands for America contradicted his streamlining government message. He wanted this expansion to benefit white Americans primarily. We have to keep it real and that documents Jefferson's racism and hypocrisy. He wanted America to go into the Pacific. Back in 1801, the dictator Napoleon Bonaparte forced Spain to give him the Louisiana Territory including the city of New Orleans (which was a very strategic port city). By 1803, France gave Jefferson the Louisiana Purchase. It cost $15 million or about $0.04 per acre ($240 million in 2016 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre). Federalists opposed the expansion, but Jeffersonians hailed the opportunity to create millions of new farms to expand the domain of land-owning yeomen; the ownership would strengthen the ideal republican society, based on agriculture (not commerce), governed lightly. The supporters of the deal claimed that it promoted self-reliance and virtue, as well as form the political base for Jeffersonian Democracy.

This land was acquired without much discussion with the Native Americans who lived in that territory for centuries and thousands of years. Many people paid Native American money for lands to the east of the Mississippi and in parts of west outside of the Louisiana Purchase later on. Jefferson wanted exploration of these lands before the purchase. Thomas Jefferson, in 1804, sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the Louisiana Territory and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. These men received help from a Native American woman named Sacajawea (who was a Shoshone woman) and her husband. They traveled in the Missouri River. They came into Colorado and Oregon. Jefferson told Lewis and Clark to research the native tribes (including their morals, language, and culture), weather, soil, rivers, commercial trading, and animal and plant life. Lewis and Clark discovered new species. They found 15 mammals, 16 birds, 7 fish, and 7 reptiles. They met Black Moccasin (or a Minitari chef). They left St. Louis in 1803 and returned in 1806.  John Jacob Astor (who was a wealthy entrepreneur) expanded fur trading operations into the Pacific Northwest too. He made the American Fur Company to break up the Hudson’s Bay Company monopoly in the region. Astor was a multi-millionaire by 1834 with a strong fur trade enterprise.

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Settlers (Further Exploration too).

More explorers and settlers existed in the West. Many of these explorers were funded by private institutions or by the federal government. From 1805 to 1806, the Army lieutenant Zebulon Pike (1779-1813) led a group of 20 soldiers to find the waters of the Mississippi. He explored also the Red and Arkansas Rivers in the Spanish territory. He reached the Rio Grande. Pike saw the peak in Colorado named after him. Major Stephen Harriman Long (1784-1864) led the Yellowstone and Missouri expeditions of 1819-1820. He also described the Great Plains in 1823 as a “desert.” Many settlements would be in the area decades later. Naturalists like Thomas Nuttall and John Bradbury traveled up the Missouri River in 1811. They documented and drawn images of plant plus animal life. They went with the Astoria expedition. Later, Nuthall explored the Indian Territory (Oklahoma), the Oregon Trail, and even Hawaii. His book A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory was an important account of frontier life. Although Nuthall was the most traveled Western naturalist before 1840, unfortunately most of his documentation and specimens were lost. Artist George Catlin (1796–1872) traveled up the Missouri as far as North Dakota, producing accurate paintings of Native American culture. A Swiss visitor Karl Bodmer (1809–93), was in the U.S. in 1832–34 with the Prince Maximilian expedition; he made compelling landscapes and portraits. In 1803, John James Audubon (1785–1851) immigrated from Haiti and established a reputation as a leading explorer, woodsman, painter, and naturalist. His greatest achievement involved classifying and painting in minute details 500 species of birds, published in Birds of America.

Another famous explorer was John Charles Fremont. He was a commissioned Army officer in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. He loved to explore. He was part of the Republican Party. He crossed the Rocky Mountains by five different routes. He mapped parts of Oregon and California. He played a role in conquering California from 1846-1847. In 1848–49, Frémont was assigned to locate a central route through the mountains for the proposed transcontinental railroad, but his expedition ended in near-disaster when it became lost and was trapped by heavy snow. He created scientific data and adventure information. Many travelers used his information to go into the West. It inspired many. Colleges grew in the Northeast. There was Transylvania University which was founded in 1780 in the western frontier of Lexington, Kentucky. It had a law school and undergraduate degree program. It had medical programs. Transylvania attracted politically ambitious young men from across the Southwest, including 50 who became United States senators, 101 Congressman, 36 governors and 34 ambassadors.

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Theft of Native Americans' Lands (Manifest Destiny, the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson, the Trial of Tears)

America was formed in the midst of the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of black people, and the theft of their lands. Manifest Destiny is the vicious lie that white settlers have the divine right to conquer territories from the Atlantic to the Pacific by any means necessary. It was part of the agenda of the system of racism/white supremacy. It involved murder, rape, and destruction of land plus the destruction of tons of wildlife too. The buffalo in America was almost extinct by those who believed in the racist deception of Manifest Destiny. After the Revolutionary War, many settlers created log cabins and other homes. Some people hunted deer, turkeys, and other animals. Folks wore leather pants, moccasins, fur caps, and shirts. Many traveled in horses. Some hunted hogs, sheep, and cattle. Some squatters existed too. Some wanted the people in the frontier West to be law abiding and filled with a middle class republican community like Henry Clay. Other slave owners wanted new lands for economic exploitation. Free Soilers wanted low cost land for free white farmers. By 1862, Republicans offered 160 acre homesteads to all adults, male and female, black and white, native-born or immigrant.

By 1788, American settlers traveled heavily into the Northwest Territory where they formed Marietta, Ohio. That was the first permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory. In 1775, Daniel Boone blazed a trail for the Transylvania Company from Virginia through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. It was later lengthened to reach the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. The Wilderness Road was steep and rough, and it could only be traversed on foot or horseback, but it was the best route for thousands of settlers moving into Kentucky during that time period. In some areas they had to face Native American attacks. In 1784 alone, Native Americans killed over 100 travelers on the Wilderness Road. No Native Americans lived permanently in Kentucky back then, but they sent raiding parties to stop the newcomers. One of those intercepted was Abraham Lincoln's grandfather, who was scalped in 1784 near Louisville. The federal government gave funds to build railroads and canals in the frontier West. Conservatives and Whigs like President John Quincy Adams wanted a moderate pace in charging people to get resources from the federal government to live in frontier locations. The Democrats wanted a wild scramble for land at very low prices. The steamboat existed in the Ohio River by 1811. There was more travel in the Missouri River from 1818-1825 with help from Army engineers. The federal postal system expanded.

The War of 1812 existed too. This war was about Americans and British disputing over traveling in the Atlantic Ocean, competition for resources in North America, and issues not being resolved after the Revolutionary War. American naval officers were kidnapped by British ships constantly. Many Americans didn’t like this. Also, many Native Americans allied with the British because of American conflicts with Native American tribes. During that war, Andrew Jackson was a General in the war. He worked with American frontier militiamen to defeat the Creeks. He opened the Southwest while the militia under Governor William Henry Harrison defeated the Indian-British alliance at the Battle of the Thames in Canada in 1813. The death in battle of the Native American leader Tecumseh dissolved the coalition of Native American tribes. Meanwhile, General Andrew Jackson ended the Native American military actions in the Southeast at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 in Alabama. In general the frontiersmen battled the Indians with little help from the U.S. Army or the federal government.  To end the War of 1812, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay and Albert Gallatin (a leading anthropologist) and the other American diplomats negotiated the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 with Britain. They rejected the British plan to set up a Native American state in U.S. territory south of the Great Lakes. They explained the American policy toward acquisition of Native American lands. New states soon formed and the Trial of Tears existed. This was about Andrew Jackson forcing Native Americans from the Southeast like the Creek to travels hundreds of miles to Oklahoma by force. Many Native Americans died along the way. In Oklahoma, they were forced in dilapidated, bad living conditions. This was a great tragedy of American history.

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Trading (in Fur, etc.)

The fur trade increased by the early 19th century. The frontier people moved westward. There were trappers and hunters. They wanted new supplies of beaver and other skins for shipment to Europe. Hunters wanted economic resources. Hunters encountered Native Americans in the Old West. They knew of the Northwest terrain and the Rocky Mountains. Many trials grew too. By 1820, however, a new "brigade-rendezvous" system sent company men in "brigades" cross-country on long expeditions, bypassing many tribes. It also encouraged "free trappers" to explore new regions on their own. At the end of the gathering season, the trappers would "rendezvous" and turn in their goods for pay at river ports along the Green River, the Upper Missouri, and the Upper Mississippi. St. Louis was the largest of the rendezvous towns. By 1830, however, fashions changed and beaver hats were replaced by silk hats, ending the demand for expensive American furs. Thus ended the era of the mountain men, trappers and scouts such as Jedediah Smith, Hugh Glass, Davy Crockett, Jack Omohundro and others. The trade in beaver fur virtually ceased by 1845.

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Westward Expansion along with Technology (Sante Fe trial, Oregon Trial, Phony Express Telegraph)

Western Expansion grew with technology. This technology included the following: the Santé Fe Trail, the Oregon Traill, the pony express, and the telegraph. The Santa Fe Trail was a transportation route during the 19th century. It connected Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pedro Vial pioneered the route in 1792 and he was a French explorer. William Becknell promoted it in 1821. It was a very important route that carried many goods and services throughout the frontier west. It was a very vital highway. The railroad replaced the Santa Fe Trail by 1880. The trade center in Santa Fe carried trade into Mexico City. The route intersected Comanche land in the area called Comancheria. The Comanche wanted compensation for passage on the trail. It was another market for American traders. Comanche raided areas in America, New Mexico, and Mexico. Wagons readily traveled along the route. By the 1840's trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche power in the region. The Santa Fe Trail was used as an invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican American War in 1846. Americans exchanged manufactured good for the New Mexicans giving the Americans horses, mules, furs, and silver. Today, the road area of the Santa Fe is now remembered by the National Park Service as the Santa Fe National Historic Trial.

The Oregon Trail was different in many ways than the Santa Fe Trail. Thousands of men, women, and children traveled along 2,000 in wagon trains at time during a six month journey on the Oregon Trail. Many people wanted to not travel across South America to go into the West Coast. So, the Oregon Trail was created in order to allow people to have easiest access to the Pacific Coast. The Oregon Trail started in Missouri. Many people carried farm supplies, weapons, animals, clothing, etc. The trail crossed through rivers, prairies, and mountains. It ended in Oregon and California.  By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Trails were cleared further and further west, eventually reaching all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This network of wagon trails leading to the Pacific Northwest was later called the Oregon Trail. The eastern half of the route was also used by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Mormon Trail (from 1847), and Bozeman Trail (from 1863) before they turned off to their separate destinations. In the "Wagon Train of 1843", some 700 to 1,000 emigrants headed for Oregon; missionary Marcus Whitman led the wagons on the last leg. In 1846, the Barlow Road was completed around Mount Hood, providing a rough but passable wagon trail from the Missouri River to the Willamette Valley: about 2,000 miles. People also used the Oregon Trail to travel eastward too. Many people had to deal with the dangers of snakebites, wagon accidents, violence from other travelers, etc. Some had to deal with attacks from Native Americans. Some had diseases like dysentery, typhoid, and cholera. Avalanches happened too. The Donner Party had over 40 people dying of starvation during the winter of 1846-1847.

The pony express existed very powerfully in the world. The federal government gave subsidies for the development of mail and freight delivery. By 1856, Congress authorized road improvements and an overland mail service to California. So, new commercial wagon trains service existed to haul mostly freight. In 1858, John Butterfield (1801–69) established a stage service that went from Saint Louis to San Francisco in 24 days along a southern route. This route was abandoned in 1861 after Texas joined the Confederacy, in favor of stagecoach services established via Fort Laramie and Salt Lake City, a 24-day journey, with Wells Fargo & Co. as the foremost provider (initially using the old "Butterfield" name). William Russell, hoping to get a government contract for more rapid mail delivery service, started the Pony Express in 1860, cutting delivery time to ten days. He set up over 150 stations about 15 miles (24 km) apart. In 1861 Congress passed the Land-Grant Telegraph Act which financed the construction of Western Union's transcontinental telegraph lines. Hiram Sibley, Western Union's head, negotiated exclusive agreements with railroads to run telegraph lines along their right-of-way. Eight years before the transcontinental railroad opened, the First Transcontinental Telegraph linked Omaha, Nebraska and San Francisco (and points in-between) on October 24, 1861. The Pony Express ended in just 18 months because it could not compete with the telegraph.

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The 1846 California Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush existed because of many reasons. Back in 1846, about 10,000 Hispanic people lived in California. They mostly lived in cattle ranches in the LA area. There were a few hundred human beings (from other countries) in the northern districts including some Americans. War existed in 1846 when U.S. forces sent Fremont and an U.S. Army unit plus naval forces to quickly control California.  Many people back during the 1840’s viewed California as too far away. That would change in 1848. That was the year when workers found flecks of gold in the American east. That was east of Sacramento, California. The people were in John Sutter’s sawmill. By the summer of that year, many people in the Eastern United States had a frenzy to go into the West Coast in search of gold. This mass migration to the west in search of gold was called the California Gold Rush. 80,000 people travel in trying to get a fortune. The population of California increased to over 200,000 in 1852 from about 14,000 in 1847. This was mostly in gold districts that stretched into the mountains east of San Francisco. The people who wanted gold were called forty-niners. Many of them traveled via land trials. Some traveled by ship across the Isthmus of Panama into California. Many people from Chile, Peru, and 25,000 laborers from China came into California for getting resources as well. Most mining worked in placer mining and got little wealthy.

Only a small percentage of miners became very wealthy from gold discovery. Food and clothing were expensive. Mining camps were crowded and many had sanitation issues. Many of them lived in the San Francisco area. People had pork, beans, and whisky. Many of the miners used violence, some were drunk, etc. Native Americans, Mexicans, African Americans, and Chinese people were heavily discriminated against back then. The gold rush brought many professionals like merchants, doctors, attorneys, and precious metal specialists in the region. Saloon locations grew. There were gamblers and prostitutes. A San Francisco newspaper stated, "The whole country... resounds to the sordid cry of gold! Gold! Gold! while the field is left half planted, the house half built, and everything neglected but the manufacture of shovels and pick axes."

Over 250,000 miners found a total of more than $200 million in gold in the five years of the California Gold Rush. As thousands arrived, however, fewer and fewer miners struck their fortune, and most ended exhausted and broke. Bandits harmed many miners. Jonathan R. Davis killed 11 bandits by himself. Camps were in the north and south of the American Rivera and eastward into the Sierras. Mining companies took control of many mining institutions.  Many white miners murdered thousands of Native Americans. Mexican Americans experienced violence and drove most of them from mine fields. The Mexicans or the Californios were in California before the miners came into the land. Mariano Vallejo was a Mexican who lived in California, but his land was stolen and he was forced (by the court and many white settlers) to live in a small ranch. Racists also didn’t want black people to live in California, but black people lived in California regardless. Beginning in 1852, at the end of the '49 gold rush, through 1883, hydraulic mining (which was about using jets of water to erode gravel hills into dirt to get the gold. This was dangerous since this method harmed the environment) was used. Despite huge profits being made, it fell into the hands of a few capitalists, displaced numerous miners, vast amounts of waste entered river systems, and did heavy ecological damage to the environment.

Hydraulic mining ended when public outcry over the destruction of farmlands led to the outlawing of this practice. Most of the new Californians back then were Northerners. Later, gold was discovered in New Mexico, and South Dakota. Gold was found in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota (by 1864). Silver was found in Nevada areas of Virginia City, Carson City, and Silver City. The wealth of silver more than gold caused San Francisco to grow even more. Wealthy families developed there like George Hearst.  The gold rush in California rapidly increased the population of San Francisco. California would soon achieve statehood in the year of 1850.

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Mexico and Texas

Mexico and Texas have a long history spanning centuries and thousands of years. Many of my relatives visited many places in Texas before. There can be no discussion about the frontier west without discussing about Mexico and Texas. Back by the 17th and 18th centuries, Spanish imperialists conquered a large area of the Southwest from Mexico to Texas and New Mexico. New Mexico was a colony, which was founded in 1598. Many settlers lived in New Mexico and Sante Fe. Some people were farmers and ranchers on the Rio Grande valley. Many Native Americans fought for their freedom too. Some settlers allied with the Pueblo Native Americans for protection, but their populations increasingly declined by the 1700’s. In the Great Plains and in Texas, the Apaches grew in power and readily fought against the Spanish people. The Apaches in New Mexico were called the Navajos. The Pueblo taught the Navajos about pottery, growing corn, and herding sheep. The Hispanic population in New Mexico grew to about 40,000 by 1821. Texas was different than New Mexico. The Spanish empire made Texas to be used as a buffer to protect Mexican towns in the south. Texas had farms, ranches, and military presidios. Texas’ population was small in the beginning. Many lived in San Antonio. Only 1,200 colonists lived in Texas centuries ago. Ranchers had to sell cattle in Mexico to get economic resources. By the early 1800’s, Mexico fought the Spanish Empire to gain its independence by 1821.

Afterwards, new events would come like the growth of the Sante Fe trail. After Mexican independence, Mexico controlled Texas. Texas was part of Mexico back then. Tejanos were the local Hispanic population in Texas. Texas had wide open spaces and fertile lands, so settlers during the early 19th century started to travel into Texas mightily. Only about 4,000 Tejanos lived in Texas back during the early 19th century. With more people coming into Texas, Mexico believed that it can cause the new Anglo settlers to benefit them economically. So, Mexico created a plan. Mexico allowed Americans to go into Texas. Yet, Mexico wanted the settlers to get cheap land grants as long as they accepted the Mexican constitution, become Mexican citizens, worship as Roman Catholics (as most Mexicans back then and today are Roman Catholics), and reject slavery. The Mexican Constitution banned slavery in 1829. They wanted to not cause tension in the region. By the early 1800’s, Stephen Austin led settlers to form the city of Austin, which is east of San Antonio. Many of the Anglo immigrants came from the South. They raised pigs, cattle, and corn. They grew cotton and other resources. 30,000 Americans were in Texas by 1835. They soon outnumbered Tejanos six to one.

Tensions grew by the 1830’s. The problem was that the settlers didn’t agree with many of the demands from Mexico. Many of the white settlers refused to give up slavery. Many settlers forced slaves to live in Texas. Many remained Protestant. I believe in religious freedom (and the right of anyone to be a Protestant or a Baptist), but I reject slavery. The Mexican government had many coups. Another problem was that the new Mexican leader Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna grew more authoritarian. In 1835, the 1824 Constitution was overturned; state legislatures were dismissed, militias disbanded. So, Santa Anna enacted dictatorial policies. Santa Anna wanted soldiers to curtail new immigration into Texas, but immigration continued. Liberal Mexicans wanted a more democratic, decentralized government in Mexico. Tejanos and Anglo-Texans wanted more autonomy outside of Santa Anna’s rule. Yet, many Anglo-Texans loved slavery so much that they opposed Santa Anna’s beliefs. The problem with many of the Anglos is that many of them wanted slavery not true liberty. Austin at first just wanted autonomy in Mexico. Others American immigrants like William Travis desired total independence of Texas from Mexico.

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In 1835, the Texans rebelled against Mexico. The settlers conquered Goliad and San Antonio, which were Mexican garrisons. In 1836, the settlers (many of whom were slaveholders) declared Texas an independent country. It was called the Lone Star Republic, because it had one star on its flag. This started the Texas Revolution. In Section 9 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, it is stated how the new republic would resolve their greatest problem under Mexican rule:

“All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude ... Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have power to emancipate slaves.”

Santa Anna acted immediately in opposing the new Republic of Texas. He sent troops north into Texas to try to stop the rebellion. In March 1836, Anna’s military forces met in a Texas garrison called the Alamo. This was located in San Antonio, Texas. Mexican forces defeated the settlers in the Alamo. The battle was bloody. Anna refused to take prisoners. So, Anna’s forces used an offensive that killed Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and many Tejanos. Joe, or the personal slave of William Travis, was spared of his life. The Alamo historic event galvanized the Anglos and the Tejanos who wanted Texas independence. “Remember the Alamo” was the famous phrase that the settlers used to fight back. Sam Houston led Santa Anna eastward. He was using a war strategy and Houston’s forces defeated the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto. Over 600 Mexicans were killed. Santa Anna was captured too. Santa Anna was forced to sign a treaty to recognize Texas independence. Texas’ boundaries expanded to the Rio Grande and to Sante Fe (in New Mexico). The problem is that the Mexican government refused to accept the treaty since Anna became a dictator.

Progressive Mexicans wanted only acceptance of Texas within traditional boundaries, which no further south than the Nueces River. This border dispute was one large factor in causing the Mexican-American War. Now, Sam Houston was the President of Texas, but he wanted America to annex Texas. Many Northern representatives opposed this plan since they believed that Texas would cause a growth of slavery and expand pro-slavery political power in Congress. Some opposed annexation, because of fear of causing war with Mexico. President Polk supported the annexation and it came about. Polk also gained Oregon from Britain during this time (via compromise since he didn’t want war with Britain. America got Oregon, Washington State, and Idaho. The British owned British Columbia in the north). Texas was annexed to America as a slave state in December 1846. Republic of Texas policies changed the status of many living in the region. The constitution forbade free black people from living in Texas permanently. Individual slaves could only be freed by congressional order, and the newly emancipated person would then be forced to leave Texas. Women also lost significant legal rights under the new constitution, which substituted English common law practices for the traditional Spanish law system. Under common law, the idea of community property was eliminated, and women no longer had the ability to act for themselves legally – to sign contracts, own property, or sue. Some of these rights were restored in 1845, when Texas added them to the new state constitution. During the Republic of Texas years, Tejanos likewise faced much discrimination.

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Polk rejected the Mexican government’s claim that the border of Texas should be at the Nueces River. He believed that the border is at the Rio Grande. So, Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to occupy the lands between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. In May 1846, a clash happened between American and Mexican forces. This started the Mexican American war. To Polk, it was a Mexican attack. To the Mexicans, this was an American invasion. Democrats in Congress supported the war heavily. The Whigs voted for the war mostly out of fear of losing their political power. The war was a total American victory. America had more resources, populations, and massive industries to cause a Mexican defeat. Mexico didn’t have massive factory industries during that time period. Americans had a larger navy and artillery too. Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott had extensive military experience. Junior officers in the war were Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grand, and William T. Sherman (who played a role in the later Civil War).  By the summer of 1846, American won a majority of the battles. John Fremont seized California. General Stephen W. Kearny conquered New Mexico. In September, Monterrey was conquered by Taylor’s forces. In February of 1847, Santa Anna tried to retake the city, he was defeated. Buena Vista was ruled by the Americans.

Winfield Scott led the Navy to rule Veracruz. Scott marched to Mexico City from Veracruz. In September of 1847, Scott captured Mexico City. He then marched his 12,000 man force west to Mexico City, winning the final battle at Chapultepec. The American victory caused the Treaty of Guadalupe to exist. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February of 1848. It forced Mexico to give up the northern third of their country. It added about 1.2 million square miles of territory to America. Mexico was paid $15 million. Also, America gained California and New Mexico. America made Rio Grande as the southern boundary of the state of Texas. Polk wanted more Mexican lands, but he was opposed by Northern Congress people. Also, there was an anti-war movement that opposed the imperialism of American forces involving Mexico. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 caused America to gain more land from Mexico in southern Arizona and New Mexico.

The Mexican American war continued the debate about slavery. David Wilmot of Pennsylvania proposed the Wilmot Proviso which would ban slavery in any lands won from Mexico. This was debated and it represented tensions. The Proviso was passed in the House, but it failed in the Senate. Northern Democrats and northern Whigs supported the bill. Southern Democrats and southern Whigs opposed it. The war was a prelude to the Civil War. Ironically, Abraham Lincoln (who was a Whig Congressman back then) denounced the Mexican-American war. More migrants came to Texas after the Mexican-American war. Many German immigrants came there too. Texas is a symbol of the frontier West to this very day. It’s a Southern state with heroes and villains. On the eve of the Civil War, which Texas would enter as a part of the Confederacy, there were 182,566 slaves, nearly one-third of the state’s population. As more slaves came into the Republic of Texas, more escaped to Mexico. Matamoros in the 1840's had a large and flourishing colony of ex-slaves from Texas and the United States. Mexico encouraged escaped slaves to go into Mexico in finding freedom. It has its troubled past and it has heroic people who fought for justice too.

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The Mormons and Utah (other Religions too)

Religion has always been a part of the frontier West. Religious freedom is a part of the human rights movement. By the early 1800’s, America had Muslims, Christians, followers of Judaism, and other members of faith. The Second Great Awakening in America revolutionized religious expression. It started in the early 1800’s and lasted until the mid-19th century. Preachers or revivalists traveled the West to spread the Christian gospel. The Second Great Awakening changed American spirituality forever. It caused church attendance to massively increase. Many religious people were inspired by the Great Awakening movement to fight for social reforms and become abolitionists. Charles Finney was one of the leading preachers of the Second Great Awakening. It originated in Kentucky and spread nationwide. Also, the separation of church and state was debated back then and today. I believe in religious expression, but I also believe in the separation of church and state because the federal government has no right to infringe on anyone’s religious freedom. African Americans increasingly became Christian as a product of the Great Awakening movement too. Unitarians grew and they denied the Trinity. Roman Catholicism existed in America and many Jewish people experienced unjust discrimination. Utopian movements like Transcendentalism developed. Transcendentalism was about humans looking to Nature, the senses, and other forces to go beyond one’s self. Ralph Waldo Emerson (who was an ex-Unitarian minister) was a famous Transcendentalist. Henry David Thoreau was a follower of Emerson. Thoreau was anti-slavery and anti-war as he protested the Mexican-American war. He wrote the essay entitled “Civil Disobedience” in mentioning that people have the right to follow his or her conscience even if it means to break unjust laws. He went to jail for refusing to pay taxes to the Mexican-American war. He followed his conscience. Also, alternative religious groups were invented during this time. One was Mormonism.

Mormonism was invented in New York State by a man named Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith said that an angel named Morori gave him visions to establish a new religion. By 1830, he and his followers formed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons). It grew rapidly to over 1,000 members in months. Mormons back then believed that a man can have more than one wife. Mormonism back then was frowned upon by many. Many of them were persecuted because of their religious faith. I don’t agree with Mormonism, but Mormons should have never been oppressed or persecuted because of their religious faith. Mormons were chased from town to town during the 19th century. Mormons were chased out of Ohio and Missouri. Then, they settled in Illinois. They founded a town named Nauvoo. It grew strongly. Still, in Missouri and Illinois, there was animosity between Mormon settlers and locals. Militias from both sides clashes and there was a mass killing of Mormons in Livingston County 6 days after October 24, 1838. An executive order was filed during these conflicts and the Mormons were forced to scatter.  In 1844, Joseph Smith wanted to run for President and some Mormons disagreed with him. Soon, violence came and Joseph Smith was killed.

His successor Brigham Young led the Mormons across territories into Salt Lake City, Utah. Back then, Utah was owned by Mexico. Mormons thrived in Utah. A hundred rural Mormon settlements sprang up in what Young called "Deseret", which he ruled as a theocracy. It later became Utah Territory. Young's Salt Lake City settlement served as the hub of their network, which reached into neighboring territories as well. The communalism and advanced farming practices of the Mormons enabled them to succeed. They sold goods to wagon trains passing through and came to terms with local Native American tribes because Young decided it was cheaper to feed the Native Americans than fight them. Education became a high priority to protect the beleaguered group, reduce heresy in their minds, and maintain group solidarity. The U.S. government took over Utah in 1848. Many Protestant churches rejected theocracy and polygamy. The Republican Party had members who wanted to destroy polygamy. Many of them saw it as an affront to religious, cultural, and moral values. Open warfare happened. President Buchanan sent in troops. Although there were no military battles fought, and negotiations led to a stand down, violence still escalated and there were a number of casualties. Savagery escalated further on September 11, 1857 when a Mormon militia killed civilians headed for California. After the Civil War the federal government systematically took control of Utah away from the Mormons, and drove the church's leadership underground. Meanwhile, aggressive missionary work in the U.S. and Europe brought a flood of Mormon converts to Utah. Finally in 1890 the Church leadership announced polygamy was no longer a central tenet, and a compromise was reached, with Utah becoming a state and the Mormons dividing into Republicans and Democrats.

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Bleeding Kansas

The history of Bleeding Kansas is an important part of American history. Back then, the Congress couldn’t deal with slavery in the states which caused its total abolition. It did have jurisdiction in the western territories. California rejected slavery unanimously in 1850 and became a free state. New Mexico back then allowed slavery, but it was rare there. Kansas was off limits to slavery by the Compromise of 1820. Free soil elements feared that if slavery were allowed, then rich planters would buy up the best lands and work them with slaves. This left little opportunities in their minds for free white men to own farms. Many of the free soilers opposed slavery not for moral reasons, but for economic and political reasons. Few Southern planters were truly interested in Kansas. Yet, the idea that slavery was illegal there implied to them that they had a second class status (which is silly). The Southerners had an ego and wanted to promote their extremist doctrine of state’s rights. States’ rights to them were about the right of a state to have slavery, which is ludicrous and wrong.

With the passage of the extremely controversial Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854, Congress left the decision up to the voters on the ground in Kansas. Across the North a new major party was formed to fight slavery: the Republican Party, with numerous westerners in leadership positions, most notably Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. To influence the territorial decision, anti-slavery elements (also called "Jayhawkers" or "Free-soilers") financed the migration of politically determined settlers. But pro-slavery advocates fought back with pro-slavery settlers from Missouri. Violence happened among the pro-slavery and anti-slavery human beings. The Marais des Cygnes massacre of anti-slavery Kansans occurred on May 19, 1858. 56 people were killed by the time the violence abated in 1859. In 1860, pro-slavery forces were in control, but Kansas only had 2 slaves. The antislavery forces took over in 1861 as Kansas became a free state. Bleeding Kansas proved that there was no compromise with slavery. Slavery is immoral period. The Civil War existed and the North and the South clashed militarily for the future of America.

The Civil War in the West

The Civil War has a long history in the West. The Confederacy engaged in many campaigns in the West. This has been called by historians as the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the U.S. Civil War (or military operations that happened west of the Mississippi River).  Yet, Kansas was a major area of conflict building up to the war, was the scene of only one battle, at Mine Creek. Its proximity to Confederate lines enabled pro-Confederate guerrillas like the Quantrill’s Raiders, to attack Union strongholds and massacre the residents. Texas was part of the Confederacy too. Citizens voted Texas to join the evil Confederacy. Anti-war Germans were hanged in Texas. Local troops took over the federal arsenal in San Antonio with plans to grab the territories of Northern New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and possibly California. Confederate Arizona was created by Arizona citizens who wanted protection against Apache raids (which happened after United States Army units were moved out). The Confederacy then wanted to gain control of the New Mexico Territory. This happened in the year of 1861. Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley was tasked for the campaign, and together with his New Mexico Army, marched right up the Rio Grande in an attempt to take the mineral wealth of Colorado as well as California. The First Regiment of Volunteers discovered the rebels, and they immediately warned and joined the Union forces at Fort Union. The Confederate Territory of Arizona was proclaimed by Col. John Baylor after victories in the First Battle of Mesilla on July 25, 1861, at Mesilla, New Mexico, and the capture of several Union forces. Southern forces advanced northward through the Rio Grande Valley, capturing Albuquerque and Santa Fe in March 1862. Attempts to press further northward in the territory were unsuccessful, and Confederate forces withdrew from Arizona completely in 1862 when Union reinforcements arrived from California.

The Battle of Glorieta Pass (on March 26-28, 1862. 140 Union troops died and 190 Confederates died in the battle) soon erupted, and the Union ended the Confederate campaign and the area west of Texas remained in Union hands. In other words, the Confederacy was defeated and they left Arizona completely. If the Confederates weren’t stopped at Glorieta Pass, they could have conquered Denver. This small battle dissolved any possibility of the Confederacy taking New Mexico and the far west territories. In April of 1862, the California Column, Union volunteers from California, pushed the remaining Confederates out of present-day Arizona at the Battle of Picacho Pass. In the Eastern United States, the fighting dragged on for three more years, but in the Southwest the war against the Confederacy was over, but the war against the Apache, Navaho and Comanche continued for the California garrisons until they were replaced by U. S. Army troops after the Civil War ended.

Missouri had legal slavery and it was a Union state. It was a battleground when pro-secession governor (against the vote of the legislature) led troops to the federal arsenal at St. Louis. He was aided by Confederate forces from Arkansas and Louisiana. However, Union General Samuel Curtis regained St. Louis and all of Missouri for the Union. Missouri was the scene of many raids and guerrilla warfare in the West. The Union solidified its control of Missouri after Union leader Samuel Ryan Curtis defeated the Confederate forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas in March of 1862.

The U.S. Army after 1850 established a group of military posts across the frontier. This was done to stop warfare among Native American tribes or between Native Americans and settlers. Throughout the 19th century, Army officers usually served built their careers in peacekeeper roles moving from fort to fort until retirement. Actual combat experience was uncommon for any one soldier. The most dramatic conflict was the Sioux war in Minnesota in 1862. This was when Dakota tribes systematically attacked German farms. They wanted to drive out settlers. Over the next couple of days, Dakota attacks at the Lower Sioux Agency, New Ulm, and Hutchinson, slaughtered 300 to 400 white settlers. The state militia fought back and Lincoln sent in federal troops. There were subsequent battles at Fort Ridgely, Birch Coulee, Fort Abercrombie, and Wood Lake. It lasted for 6 weeks and the Americans had a victory. The federal government tried 425 Native Americans for murder. 303 of them were convicted and sentenced to death. Lincoln pardoned the majority, but 38 leaders were hanged. The decreased presence of Union troops in the West left behind untrained militias and many tribes used the opportunity to attack settlers. The militia struck back hard, most notably by attacking the winter quarters of the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples, filled with women and children, at the Sand Creek massacre in eastern Colorado in late 1864. Kit Carson and the U.S. Army in 1864 trapped the entire Navajo tribe in New Mexico, where they had been raiding settlers, and put them on a reservation.

Within the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, conflicts arose among the Five Civilized Tribes, most of which sided with the South. Some Native Americans back then in that location were slaveholders themselves. In Oklahoma, Native Americans were divided into Union or Confederate supporters.  A campaign led by Union General James G. Blunt to secure Indian Territory culminated with the Battle of Honey Springs on July 17, 1863. Though his force included Native Americans, the Union did not incorporate Native American soldiers into its regular army. Officers and soldiers supplied to the Confederacy from Native American lands numbered at 7,860  and came largely from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations.  Among these was Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, a Cherokee who raided Union positions in Indian Territory with his 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles regiment well after most of the Confederate forces abandoned the area. Watie led his troops in guerrilla warfare by attacking Union positions, supply wagons, and by attacking other Cherokee and Native Americans who supported the Union. He became the last Confederate General to surrender when he signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives on June 23, 1865.

In 1862, Congress enacted two major laws to facilitate settlement of the West: the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railroad Act. The result by 1890 was millions of new farms in the Plains states, many operated by new immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia. Texas was probably the most difficult place for the Union to fight during the Civil War. Major fighting by the Union in Texas ended mostly in defeat. It would only be at the end of the Civil War where the Confederates from Texas would surrender. On June 2, 1865, after all other major Confederate armies in the field had surrendered; Kirby Smith officially surrendered his command. I thank God that those Confederate traitors lost the Civil War. This ends Part 2 of this American West series. Part 3 would entail the time after the Civil War until the end of the 19th century.

By Timothy

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