Monday, July 10, 2017

More on the Frontier West

Reservations were created by after attacks on Native American people. It was the usage of state power to forcibly send Native Americans from their own lands into often dilapidated, terrible lands. Today, the lands are under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. They are not run by the state governments of America. There are 326 Native American reservations in America. Today, there are 567 recognized tribes. They total in about 56.2 million acres or 87,800 square miles. This is about the size of Idaho.  Most reservations are small and the 12 largest Native Americans ones are larger than the state of Rhode Island. The largest reservation in America is the Navajo Nation Reservation, which is similar to the size of West Virginia. Tribes have tribal sovereignty. A majority of Native Americans and Alaska Natives live somewhere other than the reservations, often in big western cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles. In 2012, there were over 2.5 million Native Americans with about 1 million living on reservations. European colonists often removed Native Americans from their lands via violence. Treaties existed, voluntary moves existed, and genocide occurred. The Treaty of Paris (of 1783) caused the American officials to further strip Native Americans of property rights east of the Mississippi River. During the 19th century, treaties grew and they were broken as well. The 1830 Indian Removal Act caused the U.S. federal government to forcibly remove Native populations from European populated areas. One example was when the Five Civilized Tribes were removed by force from the southern United States and moved into Oklahoma. This mass migration was called the Trail of Tears. These lands in Oklahoma turned into reservations. In 1851, the United States Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act which authorized the creation of Native American reservations in modern-day Oklahoma. Relations between settlers and natives had grown increasingly worse as the settlers encroached on territory and natural resources in the West. By 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant wanted to use the Peace Policy. This policy wanted to stop violence. It wanted to relocate tribes from their ancestral homes into parcels of lands for their habitation. It promoted assimilation or using religious people to teach Native Americans Christianity and use Quakers in this job especially. This was very controversial. Executive orders formed reservations. Many white settlers didn’t want large amounts of land for this project. There was corruption found in federal Native American agencies and poor conditions among the relocated tribes as documented by a report sent to Congress in 1868. Some tribes ignored the relocation orders. American Army forces fought Native Americans and caused many massacres. By 1882, religious organizations weren’t involved in the federal Indian agency. The Dawes Act made reservations to tribes. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, also known as the Howard-Wheeler Act, was sometimes called the Indian New Deal. It laid out new rights for Native Americans, reversed some of the earlier privatization of their common holdings, and encouraged tribal sovereignty and land management by tribes. The act slowed the assignment of tribal lands to individual members and reduced the assignment of 'extra' holdings to nonmembers. Infrastructure and education was sent to tribes. The problem was that the new Indian Commissioners Myers and Emmons introduced the idea of the "withdrawal program" or "termination", which sought to end the government's responsibility and involvement with Indians and to force their assimilation. Many Native Americans were not compensated and some tribes lost their federal status as tribes. Disputes over land continue to this very day. Reservations came about via the acts of oppression and Native Americans have continuously fought back against injustice.

Societies in the frontier West were eclectic and diverse. Many people back then fought for democracy and equality. There has been literature talked about society like from Frederick Jackson Turner. The new states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Ohio were more democratic in many ways that some parent states back East in terms of politics and society. The Western states were the first to give women the right to vote. By 1900 the West, especially California and Oregon, led the Progressive movement. Scholars have examined the social history of the west in search of the American character. The history of Kansas, argued historian Carl L. Becker a century ago, reflects American ideals. He wrote: "The Kansas spirit is the American spirit double distilled. It is a new grafted product of American individualism, American idealism, and American intolerance. Kansas is America in microcosm." Societies in that region reflected frontier life. There has been individual effort. Many people saw unsettled lands and conflicts with Native Americans. The frontier focused on human beings having irrigation and agricultural systems. Places in the West had massive discrimination too. We are not naïve about the frontier West.

Cities in the frontier West dealt with transportation, financial and communication centers, and providers of merchandise, services, and entertainment. After 1860, the railroads pushed westward into unsettled territory. Cities once were service towns to handle railroad construction crews, train crews, and passengers who ate meals at scheduled strops. In most of the South, there were very few cities of any size for miles around, and this pattern held for Texas as well. Railroads didn’t arrive fully until the 1880's. Many places shipped cattle out and cattle drives became short distance affairs. Armed gangs often targeted passenger trains. One city that grew in the West was Denver. Mining consumed Denver’s economy before 1870. It grew, because it expanded its role in railroads, wholesale trade, manufacturing, food processing, and servicing the growing agricultural and ranching hinterland. Between 1870 and 1890, manufacturing output soared from $600,000 to $40 million, and population grew by a factor of 20 times to 107,000. Denver had always attracted miners, workers, and travelers. Saloons and gambling dens sprung up overnight. The city fathers boasted of its  theaters, and especially the Tabor Grand Opera House built in 1881. By 1890, Denver had grown to be the 26th largest city in America and the fifth-largest city west of the Mississippi River. The boom times attracted millionaires and their mansions, as well as hustlers, poverty and crime. Denver gained regional notoriety with its range of bawdy houses, from the quarters of madams to the squalid "cribs" located a few blocks away. Business was good; visitors spent lavishly, then left town. As long as the madams and others did not advertise their availability too crudely, authorities took their bribes and looked the other way. Occasional cleanups and crack downs satisfied the demands for reform. Back then, Butte Montana was the largest, richest, and rowdiest mining camp on the frontier. It had a large amount of copper. It had many Irish Catholics, who were in control of politics and had the best jobs at the leading mining corporation called Anaconda Copper. City boosters opened a public library in 1894. Ring argues that the library was originally a mechanism of social control, "an antidote to the miners' proclivity for drinking,...and gambling". It was also designed to promote middle-class values and to convince Easterners that Butte was a cultivated city. The West also had a lot of ethnic diversity. People of many nationalities and colors traveled into the West.

From 1865 to 1900, tons of people lived in the West. Some were heroes and some were villains. “Wild Bill” Hickok killed the gambler Davis Tutt in a shootout in Springfield, Missouri in July 21, 1865. This confrontation is shown in Harper’s Magazine. Hickok is a household name. This represents a popular image of the Old West. Hickok’s real name is James Butler Hickok. He was a drover, a soldier, a spy, a gunfighter, a showman, and an actor. Sometimes, he exaggerated his exploits. He was born and raised on a farm in northern Illinois. He also fought and spied for the Union Army during the American Civil War. In 1876, Hickok was shot from behind and killed while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (present-day South Dakota), by Jack McCall, an unsuccessful gambler. The hand of cards which he supposedly held at the time of his death (including the ace of spades, the ace of clubs, the eight of spades and the eight of clubs) has become known as the dead man's hand. The outlaws Frank and Jesse James robbed their first bank in Liberty, Missouri. Jesse James and his brother worked as Confederate guerillas or bushwhackers during the Civil War. They were accused of executing atrocities against Union soldiers like the Centralia Massacre. They were from Missouri. They worked with a gang of outlaws to rob banks, stagecoaches, and trains. The James brothers were most active as members of their own gang from about 1866 until 1876, when as a result of their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. Several members of the gang were captured or killed. They continued in crime for several years, recruiting new members, but were under increasing pressure from law enforcement. On April 3, 1882, James was killed by Robert Ford, a young member of his gang who hoped to collect a reward on James' head. In 1867, Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio issued the first patent for barbed wire fencing. This invention revolutionized cattle ranching on the open prairies of the West. In 1870, William "Hurricane Bill" Martin, a notorious Kansas outlaw, begins rustling cattle southeast of Abilene before he and his gang are driven off by a posse from Marion. The Utah Territorial Assembly (in 1870), supported by Brigham Young, granted women the right to vote. Over the next several decades, this provides Mormons with an added margin of political power. Calamity Jane was a woman, who was an American frontierswoman. She was a professional scout and was born in Missouri. She died in 1903 in Terry, South Dakota. John Younger, a member of the Younger Gang, is killed by Pinkerton detectives Louis Lull and Jim Duckworth in St. Clair County, Missouri (in March of 1878).

In the same year, Ike and Billy Clanton enlist William "Curly Bill" Brocius and Johnny Ringo as they begin cattle rustling in the New Mexico and southern Arizona Territories. Other famous people of the West were Billy the Kid, “Doc” Holiday, “Belle” Starr, and Geronimo. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848 – January 13, 1929) was an American Old West gambler, a deputy sheriff in Pima County, and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, who took part in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which lawmen killed three outlaw cowboys. He is often regarded as the central figure in the shootout in Tombstone, although his brother Virgil was Tombstone city marshal and Deputy U.S. Marshal that day, and had far more experience as a sheriff, constable, marshal, and soldier in combat. Wyatt Earp lived restless and had a large list of jobs from hunter, bouncer, saloonkeeper, and boxing referee. He was born in Illinois and died in Los Angeles, California in 1929. Mary Fields was the first African-American woman star route mail carrier in the United States. George McJunkin was an African American cowboy, amateur archaeologist and historian in New Mexico. He discovered the Folsom Site in 1908. Born to slaves in Midway, Texas, McJunkin was approximately 14 years old when the Civil War ended. He worked as a cowboy for freighters. He reportedly learned how to read from fellow cow punchers. McJunkin taught himself to read, write, speak Spanish, play the fiddle and guitar, eventually becoming an amateur archaeologist and historian. Bill Pickett was a great African American cowboy, rodeo, and Wild West show performer. He was born in Texas in 1870. His father was a former slave. He had nine children with Maggie Turner. He invented the technique of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. It was known among cattlemen that, with the help of a trained bulldog, a stray steer could be caught. Bill Pickett had seen this happen on many occasions. He also thought that if a bulldog could do this feat, so could he. Pickett practiced his stunt by riding hard, springing from his horse, and wrestling the steer to the ground. Pickett's method for bulldogging was biting a cow on the lip and then falling backwards. He also helped cowboys with bulldogging. This method eventually lost popularity as the sport morphed into the steer wrestling that is practiced in rodeos. Bill Pickett was very popular and he passed away in Oklahoma. Sarah Gammon Brown Bickford, who was an African American woman, (c. 1852 – 1931) was born into slavery in either Tennessee or North Carolina. In the 1870’s, she made her way to the Montana goldfields, trading work as a nanny for transportation. She ultimately became sole owner of the Virginia City Water Company, becoming the first and only woman in Montana—and probably the nation’s only female African American—to own a utility. She had children. She organized a restaurant, bakery, and boarding house in Virginia City. She always worked hard as a manager and people in her community respected her. In 2012, the State of Montana honored her by inducting her into the Gallery of Outstanding Montanan.

By Timothy

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