Battle of Little Bighorn
When gold was discovered in the Black Hills Indian Reservation in South Dakota, whites invaded the Indians' lands and drove them on the warpath. The war culminated in June 1876, when Colonel George A. Custer and all his men were killed by Sioux Indians at the Battle of Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand)in southern Montana.
Bonanza farms were huge farms covering thousands of acres on the Plains that benefited from the economies of scale made possible by new machinery and outside capital financing.
Chinese Exclusion Act
The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act excluded Chinese immigrant workers for ten years and denied U.S. citizenship to Chinese nationals living in the United States.
The Chisholm Trail was one of the first, busiest, and most famous cattle trails from the open range of south Texas to the railhead in Abilene, Kansas.
Also known as the Sand Creek massacre, the Chivington massacre occurred in Colorado in 1864. A party of state militia commanded by John Chivington massacred a Cheyenne Indian community in an unprovoked, vicious, and bloodthirsty raid.
The Comstock Lode, the richest discovery in the history of gold and silver mining, was discovered near Virginia City, Nevada.
"Concentration" was the policy adopted by the U.S. government to deal with Native Americans in the late nineteenth century. Indians were persuaded to accept defined limits to their hunting ground. This enabled the government to negotiate with each tribe separately—a strategy of divide and conquer.
Custer, George A.
Colonel Custer commanded a detachment of the Seventh Cavalry that was annihilated at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana in June 1876.
Dawes Severalty Act
In the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), Indian tribal lands were split up into individual land allotments. Provisions were made for Indian education and eventual citizenship. The law led to corruption, exploitation, and the weakening of Native American tribal culture. It was replaced in 1934.
In 1866, a tribe of Oglala Sioux under Chief Red Cloud, provoked by the building of the Bozeman Trail through their hunting ground in southern Montana, massacred a U.S. army unit commanded by Captain W. J. Fetterman.
Glidden invented barbed wire in 1874. It helped end the open range grazing of the cattle industry in the mid-1880s.
Great American Desert
The Great American Desert was the nineteenth-century label for the Great Plains. The Plains seemed hostile and uninviting to agriculture and were largely a grassy, treeless area with low rainfall, seemingly a "desert."
The Great Plains is the area extending from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. It was a treeless but grassy region difficult to farm in the nineteenth century. Plains Indians lived off the buffalo and other wildlife; white settlers turned to cattle and sheep ranching there. It was sometimes called the Great American Desert.
In 1862, Congress passed the Homestead Act, which gave 160 acres of public land to any settler who would farm the land for five years. It encouraged westward migration into the Great Plains after the Civil War.
Chief Joseph was chief of Idaho's Nez Perce Indians who, after a long campaign, finally surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles and U.S. troops in 1877. The Nez Perce were then sent to reservations in Oklahoma.
McCoy was an Illinois cattle dealer who in 1867 established Abilene, Kansas, as the railhead of the long drive on the Chisholm Trail from south Texas.
The Overland Trail was the route taken by nineteenth-century travelers who left the Mississippi Valley to settle on the Pacific Coast, going either to California or the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The wagon trip took at least six months.
Timber Culture Act
The Timber Culture Act of 1873 successfully adapted the Homestead Act to western conditions. It encouraged settlers to plant trees on the Plains and rewarded them with additional land grants if they did so.
Turner, Frederick Jackson
Turner, a historian of the West, emphasized the importance of the frontier to America's historical development. Other historians have since modified his view that the primary traits of the "American character" were attributable to the frontier experience.
The massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota in 1890 effectively ended Indian resistance to white settlement on the Plains.
American Federation of Labor
The AFL was a loose alliance of national craft unions, founded by Samuel Gompers in 1886. Unlike its national-union predecessors, it restricted membership to skilled workers, avoided politics, and focused on specific practical objectives for workers: higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions.
Anarchists advocate the overthrow of organized government. They sometimes see cooperatives and voluntary associations of individuals and groups as the best way to organize society. Anarchists called the protest meeting at Haymarket Square in Chicago in 1886, and anarchists shot the manager of the Carnegie Steel Company during the Homestead strike in 1892.
The Bessemer process, independently invented by Henry Bessemer and William Kelly in the 1850s, provided the technology that enabled the mass production of high-quality steel. This revolutionized the construction of bridges, buildings, railroads, machine tools, and virtually all other steel products.
Carnegie organized the Carnegie Steel Company, which dominated the industry for years. In his later years he turned his time and great wealth to philanthropic pursuits.
Americans celebrated one hundred years of nationhood at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where the focus was on the wonders of modern machinery.
Edison, Thomas A.
Edison, a prolific inventor, organized a modern research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He eventually acquired over a thousand patents. Among his major inventions was the electric lightbulb.
Gompers was a long-time president of the American Federation of Labor. He advocated the use of the strike and the vote to win concessions from employers and business.
In 1886, a meeting was called to protest the killing of a worker during a strike. The protest at Haymarket Square in Chicago was ended by a mysterious bomb blast that killed seven policemen. It resulted in public condemnation of organized labor and the demise of the Knights of Labor.
A company decision to crush the workers' union provoked a strike at the Homestead steel plant in Pittsburgh in 1892. With ruthless use of force, strikebreakers, and public support behind them, company officials effectively broke the strike and destroyed the union.
An injunction is a court order restraining someone from acting. In the late nineteenth century, the courts frequently issued injunctions against striking workers, thus weakening their unions.
Knights of Labor
The Knights of Labor was an inclusive national labor organization founded by Uriah Stephens and Terence Powderly; it was a reform organization as well as a labor organization. Its membership swelled in the 1880s, but declined in the aftermath of the Haymarket riot in 1886.
Morgan, J. Pierpont
Morgan was a financial banker and masterful reorganizer of businesses, especially railroads. He also bought out Andrew Carnegie and organized the United States Steel Corporation.
National Labor Union
In 1866, William Sylvis united several unions into a national organization, the National Labor Union. The NLU was as much a reform effort seeking humanitarian reforms as it was a labor union seeking limited changes in the workplace and in worker-employer relations. It lasted only a few years.
New York Central Railroad
The New York Central originally ran from Albany to Buffalo. Cornelius Vanderbilt expanded the line so that by 1877, it had become a network of lines (a trunk line) stretching from New York City to the upper Midwest.
Rockefeller, John D
Rockefeller was an unusually skillful business organizer. He founded Standard Oil Company and the Standard Oil Trust, which dominated American oil refining. Like others of his ilk, he sought to stabilize his industry, reduce competition, and maximize profits.
Standard Oil Company
John D. Rockefeller organized Standard Oil in Cleveland in 1870. Through ruthless competition and superb organization, the Standard Oil Trust controlled 90 percent of oil refining in the United States by 1879.
Owners of the transcontinental railroads introduced America's four time zones (eastern, central, mountain, and Pacific) in 1883 to help standardize their operations.
Following the Civil War, four major eastern railroad networks, or trunk lines, emerged from a flurry of mergers and consolidations. All were designed to connect the eastern seaports to the Great Lakes and western rivers.
A trust, sometimes inaccurately made synonymous with a monopoly, was a business-management device designed to centralize and make more efficient the management of diverse and far-flung business operations. John D. Rockefeller organized the first trust, the Standard Oil Trust.
Vertical integration is a type of business organization in which a single company owns and controls the entire process of production of a commodity from the production of raw materials to the manufacture and sale of the finished product. The Carnegie Steel Company and Standard Oil Company were vertically integrated.