Lesson 2: The West and the South and the Peoples in Them in the Gilded Age


·         There is optional material on these pages and I will point out optional materials as we work together. If it helps you understand, use it. If you are worried about the test, focus on what the study guide lists.

·         As you look at this, keep in mind what happened to labor and business in Lesson 1.

·         In this era, racism and sexism is national (and international) and supported by fake sciences.

·         Do not assume the dates are things you have to recall on a test. Dates are so you can recognize order of events. Don’t memorize dates; think about meaning and order.

·         To succeed, don’t memorize the facts but figure out the whole.

·         This content determines the course of America through today, but all things about the Gilded Age are usually very hard for students. Tip: What happened in the West and South was the same attribute that happened to business and factory laborers—it is big business and big agriculture and big cities. The wor1d is different when things are big. The speed of change is different. The magnitude of change is different. The ripple effects down to your level and mine increase.

Look for the yellow.

17.   South and West, farmers

·         Anti-protective tariff since sell in free market and buy in protected one (what’s the consequence?)

·         Traits, including differences in debt and crops

18.   South, farmers

·         Crop-lien system, results of

·         Traits of segregation in the South after 1880

19.   West, Native Americans-transcontinental railroad and Dawes Severalty Act (meaning of word?).

20.   West, policies about Chinese, ban on immigration

21.   Segregation – Background only on B. T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois (NAACP founder)

22.   Segregation – Supreme Court Plessy v. Ferguson



What’s covered on this webpage:

The West –Mexican Americans and Immigrants (Anglo-Americans from East and South, African Americans, Asians, Europeans, Mexican Americans, and more). 1

The West - Native Americans from the Great Plains to the Rockies. 2

The South – Whites (Usually Native Born) and African Americans. 3

The South – African-Americans (Including the Reality of 1865-1877—and the Future). 4


The West –Mexican Americans and Immigrants (Anglo-Americans from East and South, African Americans, Asians, Europeans, Mexican Americans, and more)

1.    What are the ways to make a living in the West other than agriculture? How do they start out and how to they end?

o   Gold and silver mining in Colorado and Nevada

§  Initially at the surface by individuals
Highly diverse immigrants and moving to the next gold or silver strike

§  Commercial mining

o   Cattle to the east

§  Initially by cattle drives to the railhead in Abilene

§  Later by big business (note: barbed wire)

2.    What are the ways to work in the West in agriculture?
How do they start out and how to they end?

o   Homesteaders (the law involved?) – the challenges in the west? (interest rate in Midwest = 25%)
Note: farmers’ revolt by 1890s (covered in the next Lesson)

o   Commercial farming/Bonanza farms

3.    Racial/Economic Targets in the West

o   Chinese, specific local laws against

§  1877, California anti-Chinese mobs

§  1882, Chinese Exclusion Act

o   Mexican-Americans

The West - Native Americans from the Great Plains to the Rockies

1.    Where did the Indians who are there come from? Example: the Cherokees

2.    What did the Constitution say and had been the policies before 1865?

3.    1851 Fort Laramie Treaty – Plains Indians allow passage along “wagon trails” (means?)

4.    Sampling of events

o   1862 “hungry Sioux warriors” – Minnesota Valley

o   1864 Colorado – “Indian camp flying a white flag of truce” (means?)

o   1867 Attempt –- creation of the “Indian Peace Commission” – solution distant reservations (means?)

o   1867 – Some move to western Oklahoma, some Dakota Territory (means?)

o   1876 – Custer and Sioux – Little Bighorn, Montana Territory

o   1881 – A Century of Dishonor - Helen Hunt Jackson

o   1890- Ghost Dance movement – Wounded Knee, South Dakota – “nervous soldiers fired into a group of Indians who had come to surrender”

5.    Finishing blow 1887 – Dawes Severalty Act (what’s severalty?) – 160 acres (where have you heard that number?) to heads of families

o   Reformers approved it

o   Westerners approved it

o   Reality: 1887-1934 – Indians lost 86 million of 130 million acres

The South – Whites (Usually Native Born) and African Americans

1.    What are the ways to make a living in the South other than agriculture? How do they start out and how to they end?

o   Textile mills

o   Tobacco (cigarette factories/American Tobacco Company)

o   Steel (Birmingham—“Pittsburgh of the South”)

o   Timber (pine) – Northern investors bought up vast pine forests throughout the region and set about clear-cutting them.

2.    What are the ways to work in the South in agriculture?

o   Landowner/store owner/controller of the math (interest rate in the South = 50%)

o   Crop-lien system

§  Restriction to grow only the cash crop

§  Small farmers

§  Tenant farmers

§  Share croppers

o   By 1900 fewer than 30% own land

3.    Why are the prices of crops (like cotton) going down? (Why doesn’t that apply to manufactured goods? – what’s the law involved?)

4.    What are the realities for working folk in the South?

o   60% of national average per capita

o   11% illiterate (50% of blacks)

The South – African-Americans (Including the Reality of 1865-1877—and the Future)

Look at the past data on African Americans in the South. What do these things tell you?

o   1865-1877

§  Black males vote after

§  Amendments to the Constitution–the supreme law of land (means?)

·       13th amendment

·       14th amendment

·       15th amendment

§  What led to the 14th and 15 amendments?

§  Civil Rights Act of 1875 – blacks could sue in federal (means?) courts if denied access to public accommodations (term?) in a state

§  1879+ – Exodusters to Kansas farms (and eventually to Kansas towns)and black cowboys in the West

o   1883 – Supreme Court declares Civil Rights Act unconstitutional. Consequence to public accommodations?

o   1890 Mississippi Plan

§  Grandfather clause
Date: January 1, 1867 if could vote when blacks could not

§  Residency

§  Poll tax

o   Democratic primary – an all-white primary

o   Lynching –why is it so powerful (more than fear as a weapon)?

§  Look at the pictures of the 1893 lynching (and of the 1898 Willmington Insurrection) and realize their views of those photographs.

§  Also see the 1893 newspaper article on lynching

§  In the primaries, if you doubt the 1890s reality of African Americans in the South, read Ida Wells Barnett (black newspaper editor) and the racist Senator “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman in a speech on the Senate floor.

o   1896 Plessy v. Ferguson – Supreme Court supports segregation as “separate but equal.” (How equal is it?)
Justice Harlan, the only dissenter, defines the error for the future: the Constitution is “color blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” He also warns of hate under the “sanction of law.”

o   1900 “Willmington Insurrection” – majority (means?) of voters are black; city has an elected black council.

o   State and local Jim Crow laws

o   Two black voices:

§  Booker T. Washington – Tuskegee Institute, Atlanta Compromise and the “five fingers on the hand” argument

§  W. E. B. Du Bois – sociologist, professor, among the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (His role will continue into the 1920s.) – Wrote Souls of Black Folk. Most associated with “Talented 10th” phrase.


Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2019


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