A cultural belief that Americans were ordained by God to rule North American and conquer all the lands from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific.
The expansion of American government and values was inevitable, just, and divinely ordained.
Railroads Open the West
- after the Civil War government wanted to join the East and West and created a Transcontinental Railroad.
- new railroads opened up the central plains to immigration.
- a herd of Bison easily destroyed a railroad
- by the 1870's, 500,000 buffalo were killed
- money to be made off buffalo
- in the 1880's only a tenth of the meat was being used, the rest left to rot
Native American Reaction
-didn't like ranchers, farmers, or railroads.
- wanted nothing to do with whites.
- held the great plains as a sovereign homeland
Battle of Little Bighorn
- General Custer and the 7th Calvary found a camp, and believing they could take it attacked.
- Custer and his troops were all killed, a total of 265 men.
- Native Americans ultimately lost the wars and were forced to sign treaties and live on reservations.
Dawes Severalty Act
1. Federal Government attempted to Americanize Indians. Indians were forced to assimilate to American culture, and become farmers on their own private land.
2. dissolved tribes, divided lands into 160 acre homesteads that were owned by the heads of families.
3. Indians couldn't sell their land for 25 years under this system.
The Ghost Dance Religion
- people believed it would bring back the buffalo herds and those killed in the wars.
- Indians were God's chosen people, and the great spirit would make white people disappear.
- mystical event would restore the old ways of life.
- outlawed, but the meetings continued.
- a group of Indians gathered at Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull was there.
- 7th Calvary ordered to capture Sitting Bull.
- 200-500 Indians were killed
- known as the last "battle", but Indians remember it as a final humiliation and a massacre of innocent people.