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Pioneers on the Plains

The Great Plains

Describe what you see in this


picture. These are the Great
Plains.

Pioneers
Pioneer: a new
settler that
moves from one
place to another
Unfortunately,
not many people
wanted to move
to the Great
Plains.
They called it
the Great
American
Desert.

The Homestead Act


In order to encourage
Americans to move to
the Great Plains, the
U.S. needed to do
something drastic:
they signed the
Homestead Act.
A law signed by
Abraham Lincoln that
offered 160 acres of
free land to American
citizens and
immigrants

The Homestead Act


1.
2.
3.
4.

Requirements:
A man over the age of 21
A woman who was the head of a family
Pay a $10 fee
Farm and live on the land for five years
Land Run of 1889:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxaJY8UZxn4

Settling on the Plains


Many people took advantage of the Homestead Act,
but now they had to work the land.
Sodbuster: a person that had to bust through sod
before planting crops

Soddies
Since there were
not many trees on
the great plains,
pioneers had to be
creative!
They made their
houses out of
sod mixed with
water and grass.
The house was
called a
soddie

Life in a Soddie
1.
2.
1.
2.

Advantages:
Warm in winter, cool in summer
Fireproof
Disadvantages:
Bugs, mice, snakes lived inside
Rained through the roof

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/frontierlif
e/essay4_2.html

America Fever
Exoduster: African American pioneers who moved to the
Great Plains after the Civil War
Former slaves took advantage of the free land because this was an
opportunity to create better lives for themselves!

Life on the Plains

Harsh weather
Winter: bitter cold
and deadly
blizzards
Summer: blazing
heat and little rain
Spring: tornadoes,
hailstorms, and
flooding
Fall: dry grasses
were prone to
fires

Life on the Plains


Grasshopper invasions:
the grasshopper plague
of 1874

http://www.historynet.com/1874the-year-of-the-locust.htm

Pioneer Life
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierho
use/multimedia/interactive.html

Cowboys and Miners

Cowboy Life
Cowboys worked 16 hour days on horseback
7 days a week for two or three months at a
time

Cowboy Life
At night,
cowboys took
turns watching
the herd and
guarding against
stampedes
Cowboys would
sing to keep the
cattle calm

Cowboy Life
1/3 of all cowboys
were Mexican
American
(vaqueros) or
African American
African American
cowboys were
former slaves
Other cowboys did
not discriminate
against them

Cattle Drives
Cowboys would guide huge herds of cattle
from Texas to towns along railroads
From these towns, cattle were taken by train
to eastern cities

Interactive History
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ranchhous
e/history.html

Chisholm Trail
Used for 20 years after the Civil War

The End of the Drives


Growing conflict between
homesteaders and cattle
ranchers
Homesteaders began
building barbed wire fences
around their land
New railroad lines put an
end to cattle drives

Dreams of Gold
California gold rush:
gold was discovered
in California in the
year 1849
49ers rushed to find
gold
California now had
enough people to
become a state

Dreams of Gold
Gold was
discovered in
other places in
the West
More people
rushed to settle
in the West

Boomtowns
A booming town created by the gold rush
When the gold ran out, boomtowns turned
into ghost towns.

Boomtowns to Ghost towns


http://safeshare.tv/w/XIIxofuMFV

Entrepreneur: a person who starts a business


hoping to make a profit
Famous entrepreneur: Levi Strauss

Miners wanted sturdy pants, so Strauss made


heavy pants out of a strong cotton material.

Levi Strauss History


http://safeshare.tv/w/iTroNSsVPP

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