Assess the social, economic, political, and demographic changes of the West due to settlement and the development of new technologies in the mid to late nineteenth century.
The Civil War and Reconstruction had minimal impact on much of the trans-Mississippi West. In the period after the Civil War, settlement and economic development began to accelerate with the discovery of gold along and advances in technology. Farmers and other settlers moved out across the Great Plains, Chinese laborers traversed the Pacific, miners exploited the region’s resources, and cattle ranchers took advantage of the region’s grasslands. The federal government and state governments aided in fostering this growth. By the end of the nineteenth century the West was economically and politically integrated into the United States, but still struggled with conflict between the diverse groups of settlers and Native populations displaced by the settlement.
Before you begin this discussion be sure to read the Module Notes, Chapter 16: “Capital and Labor” (attached) and Chapter 17: “Conquering the West” (attached) in The American Yawp, and the primary source: “We Will All Be Poor Here Together.” (attached)
Using the primary and secondary source materials above as evidence, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:
- Discuss some of the ways in which the changes occurring in the late nineteenth century West affected the rest of the country.
- Did these changes reflect the changes occurring in the country as a whole?
- How did this era of settlement and economic development alter the West’s demographics and social relations