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Great Plains

between Rocky Mountains and Mississippi River, N. Canada to Texas, vast inland sea, high grassland region, rich soil, wheat inhabited by Native Americans

Homestead Act (1862)

provided 160 acres in the West to any citizen or intended citizen who was the head of a household and would cultivate the land for five years


African Americans who moved from post reconstruction South to Kansas

Pacific Railroad Act (1862)

Called for the building of the Transcontinental Railroad to stretch across America connecting California and the rest of America.

Sand Creek Massacre

In Colorado territory in 1864, the Colorado militia and Colonel John M. Chivington led a surprise attack on a peaceful Cheyenne settlement along Sand Creek River. The Cheyenne under Chief Black kettle tried to surrender. First he waved the America Flag and the White flag of surrender. Chivington ignored the gestures. The U.S army killed about 200 Cheyenne during the conflict

Bozeman Trail

trail to connect mining towns, through Sioux hunting grounds in Montana; , In attempts to block the construction of this road to MT, Sioux massacred and mutilated 81 soldiers under Capt. Fetterman's command; Native Americans call this fight Battle of The Hundred Slain. Whites called it the Fetterman Massacre.

Fetterman Massacre

Fetterman's army led into wilderness and ambushed by Sioux, 82 soldiers killed, sparked public debate over Indian policy

Crazy Horse

a chief of the Sioux who resisted the invasion of the Black Hills and joined Sitting Bull in the defeat of General Custer at Little Bighorn; Sioux warrior who ambushed Captain William Fetterman and his company at long trail ridge on the Bozeman trail.

Sitting Bull

Sioux chief who led the attack on Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn; continually resisted assimilation

Treaty of 1868

Allowed Navajo to return to their homeland, restored a small part of their previous lands and agriculture; , promised white man could never own badlands

Red River War of 1874-1875

war between Kiowa and Comanche; gov. herds people of friendly tribes onto reservations while opening fire on all others

Black Hills

mountains in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming; sacred land for the Sioux; rich with gold

George Armstrong Custer

United States general who was killed along with all his command by the Sioux at the battle of Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand)


sturdy, short-tempered breeds accustomed to the dry grasslands of southern Spain; were brought over for work and transportation

vaqueros (buckaroos)


chaparreras (chaps)


charqui (jerky)


mesteños (mustangs)


rancho (ranch)






Abilene, Kansas

Destination for the first cattle drive

Promontory, Utah

the place where the transcontinental railroad (Union and Central Pacific) was joined on May 10, 1869


Settlers who claimed land on the Great Plains under the Homestead Act.

Frederick Jackson Turner

United States historian who stressed the role of the western frontier in American history; "The Significance of the Frontier in American History"

"The Significance of the Frontier in American History"

An essay with the thesis of that the nation's character was shaped by the frontier. In the essay, Frederick Jackson Turner suggested a link between the closing of the frontier and oversea expansion.


a decrease in the general level of prices (value of money increases)


an increase in prices or declines in purchasing power caused by an increase in the supply of money (value of money goes down)

"cheap" money


"dear" money


Bland-Allison Act (1878)





also the Patrons of Husbandry, a social and educational organization through which


farms owned and operated by the government

Farmers' Alliance

A Farmers' organization founded in late 1870s; worked for lower railroad freight rates, lower interest rates, and a change in the governments tight money policy


a late 19th century political movement demanding that people have a greater voice in government and seeking to advance the interests of farmers and laborers

Populist ("People's") Party

founded in 1892 advocated variety of reform issues, including free coinage of silver, income tax, postal savings, regulation of railroads, and direct election of U.S. senators

William Jennings Bryan

Democratic candidate for president in 1896 under the banner of "free silver coinage" which won him support of the Populist Party. Later a witness in the Scopes Monkey Trial; Cross of Gold Speech

Battle of Little Big Horn, MT (1876)

Sioux leader sitting bull led the fight against general George Custer and the 7th cavalry. The Sioux wanted miners out of the black hills, and had appealed to government officials in Washington to stop the miners. Washington doesn't listen. When custer came to little bighorn rivers sitting bull and his warriors were ready and killed them all! (Custer's Last Stand)

Winchester '76 rifle



the social process of absorbing one cultural group into harmony with another

Helen Hunt Jackson

an author who wrote A Century of Dishonor which chronicled the government's actions against the Indians. Her writing helped inspire sympathy towards the Indians.

A Century of Dishonor

Written by Helen Hunt Jackson, it detailed the injustices made to Native Americans during US expansion

Dawes Act (1887)

An act that removed Indian land from tribal possession, redivided it, and distributed it among individual Indian families. Designed to break tribal mentalities and promote individualism.

Kill the Indian and save the man.

the saying to take his culture, background, and everything about his Native American culture and get rid of it, replace it with what is American

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody


Ghost Dance

Spiritual revival in 1890 by Indians that would lead to the massacre at Wounded Knee

Chief Joseph

Leader of Nez Perce. Fled with his tribe to Canada instead of reservations. However, US troops came and fought and brought them back down to reservations

Nez Perce

Native American Tribe that flee capture from U.S. Troops, who almost make it to Canada.

Battle of Wounded Knee, SD (1890)

US soldiers massacred about 300 Sioux Indians because of their Ghost Dance ritual, marked the end of the Indian Wars

Chisholm Trail

the major cattle route from San Antonio, Texas through Oklahoma to Kansas

Martha Jane Cannary ("Calamity Jane")


James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok


long drive

the moving of cattle over trails to a shipping center

chuck wagon

a wagon that carries food and cooking equipment for cowboys


a cowboy who takes care of the saddle horses

range wars

Era where the open range is closed down and cattlemen have to fight w/ farmers & sheepherders for grazing lands

Joseph Glidden

invented the barbed wire in 1874 to help farmers fence in land.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show



small sod home, warm in the winter and cool in the summer, prone to leaking and snakes,insects, and other pests

Morrill Land Grant Acts (1860, 1890)

gave federal land to the states to help finance agricultural colleges

Hatch Act (1887)

established agricultural experiment stations to inform farmers of new developments

bonanza farms

enormous farms in which a single crop is grown

Omaha Platform

the 1892 platform of the Populist party repudiating laissez-faire and demanding economic and political reform

business cycle ("boom" or "bust")

recurring fluctuations in economic activity consisting of recession and recovery and growth and decline

Panic of 1893

Serious economic depression beginning in 1893. Began due to rail road companies over-extending themselves, causing bank failures. Was the worst economic collapse in the history of the country until that point, and, some say, as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

laissez faire

the doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs


the use of both gold and silver as a basis for a national monetary system

William McKinley

25th president responsible for Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and the Annexation of Hawaii, imperialism. Is assassinated by an anarchist

Mark Hanna

business mogul, financial power behind McKinley's nomination and his subsequent campaign for president; promised a strong and prosperous industrial nation; a mass media genius

"front-porch" campaign

a low-key electoral campaign used in American politics in which the candidate remains close to or at home to make speeches to supporters who come to visit. The candidate largely does not travel around or otherwise actively campaign. The successful presidential campaigns of James A. Garfield in 1880, Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and William McKinley in 1896 are perhaps the best-known front porch campaigns

"Gold Bugs"

favored the gold standard, which is backing dollars solely with gold


favored bimetallism

Cross of Gold speech

An impassioned address by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Deomcratic Convention, in which he attacked the "gold bugs" who insisted that U.S. currency be backed only with gold; supported bimetallism

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