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Blood and Thunder

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 5 years, 3 months ago


Blood and Thunder - The Conquest of  the West [1860 to 1890]

The Plains Indians tragic efforts to combat a dynamically expanding white societies' ruthless
greed through betrayals, battles, and massacres leave their people and culture demoralized


Image result for conquest of the west






Historical Context

The compromise of 1877 Hayes wins the election through bi-partisan commission designated to pick winner.  Hayes agrees to pull troops out of the south effectively ending Military Reconstruction and the government role as protector of the blacks.  Troops stationed in Louisiana and South Carolina are sent out west.  Why did it end?  Simple political horse trading!!



What was the West? Unorganized territory west of the Mississippi


The term condenses a huge area into one term the “West.” Unlike the rich, lush farmland in the eastern part of the United States, the Great Plains stretched for miles upon miles with barely a tree in sight and low annual rainfall that often left the land dry and parched. In the Rockies deposits of silver, copper, gold, lead and other minerals were waiting to be exploited.



It took 263 years to settle the first 400 million acres; 30 years to settle the second 400 million acres


1% of the population lived west of the Mississippi in 1850, by 1900 nearly 30% of the population lived there




WHO LIVES OUT WEST?  It  is a multi-cultural and multi-racial society.

Buffalo Soldiers – 20% of the US Calvary is African American.


Chinese – 10,000 Rail workers imported to work on Trans cont. Railroad also would impact agricultural development with farming techniques.


Mexicans – Regular cross-cultural border flow and conflicts over land acquisition


Women – “Soil doves”  More men than women out west 


Cowboys and Indians  This distorts our understanding and masks a harsh reality 





The attitude and opinions that structured this relationship (innocence vs. ignorance)


Innocence - Despite destruction, most whites were not motivated by blood thirsty conquest


Ignorance - A misunderstanding of how other cultures (Native Americans) lived and what they valued






Land is unsettled - Americans have become rugged individuals because of our experience settling the west. Remember this is our Manifest Destiny!!!


1817-1900 3x as much land west of the Mississippi is being cultivated. 1870-1890 3 million people make the trek west, including 2.2 million immigrants







Three Kinds of Indian Conflict


Expansion - Expanding Native American tribes vs. Expanding United States government 


Retaliation - US Government attempts to stop Indian raiding of white settlements. Why are Indians raiding settlers’ livestock?


Independence -  Inter tribal wars for autonomy and self control












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