American West 4 - THE HOMESTEADERS

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GCSE History Mind Map on American West 4 - THE HOMESTEADERS, created by pv7137 on 04/12/2014.

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pv7137
Created by pv7137 over 5 years ago
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American West 4 - THE HOMESTEADERS
1 so many people wanted to become homesteaders and settle on the Plains
1.1 Homestead Act 1862 – families were given 160 acres of land for free, providing that they lived on it and farmed it for five years
1.2 Timber Culture Act 1873 – settlers were given a further 160 acres of free land if they agreed to plant 40 acres of their land with trees
1.3 Desert Land Act 1877 – settlers who wanted more land could buy 640 acres of land cheaply in areas where lack of rainfall was a problem
1.4 End of the US Civil War – thousands of demobilised soldiers and their families wanted to rebuild their lives. Freed black slaves were also looking for a new life. Many ex-slaves and ex-soldiers became homesteaders, cowboys and railroad builders
1.5 Building of the Railroads – it was easy for homesteaders to get onto the Plains and land could be bought cheaply from railroad companies which were selling land either side of the railroad
1.6 Pull Factors
1.6.1 The offer of free land
1.6.2 The chance of a new start
1.6.3 Advertising by the railroad companies
1.6.4 Leets home from those who had already gone west, and who were successfully farming, encouraged people to move onto the Plains themselves
1.7 Push Factors
1.7.1 Many were looking to escape poverty and unemployment
1.7.2 Looking for good farming land
1.7.3 Some moved to the Plains to escape religious persecution
1.7.4 Ex-soldiers from the US Civil War saw lack of opportunity when the returned home
1.8 Enabling factors
1.8.1 Later homesteaders could travel by railroad
1.8.2 The Indians were cleared from these lands, defeated by the US army and confined to reservations or pushed further west
2 surviving on the Plains
2.1 Water Shortages
2.1.1 Water was scarce. It was difficult to grow crops without water and homesteaders couldn’t keep themselves clean
2.1.1.1 Windmills were used to pump water from underground. Methods of dry farming were also used.
2.2 Weather Extremes
2.2.1 There was draught in the summer and cold in the winter. Fierce winds blew. This could destroy crops.
2.2.1.1 Dry farming techniques were used to overcome problems of draught
2.3 Fuel
2.3.1 There was no wood to burn as fuel for heating and cooking.
2.3.1.1 Buffalo dung and cow dung were used as fuels.
2.4 Dirt and Disease
2.4.1 It was easy for disease to develop and illness was common among homesteaders
2.4.1.1 Women used natural medical remedies to treat disease
2.5 Building Materials
2.5.1 There was a lack of wood and only a few could afford wood to build their homes
2.5.1.1 Blocks of earth were cut and used as building bricks to build ‘sod’ houses
2.6 Natural Hazards
2.6.1 Prairie fires started in the summer. There were plagues of grasshoppers that could destroy crops.
2.6.1.1 No solution! They had to endure
3 female homesteaders
3.1 Making and washing clothes
3.2 Preparing food for their family
3.3 Making household items, such as soap and candles
3.4 No social life, because of the long distances between farmhouses
3.5 Mental health problems, due to the lack of a social life and the heavy workload
3.6 Coming into contact with hostile Indians
4 Which factors determined whether a homesteader would be successful
4.1 Exact location of their land – some parts of the Plains were more fertile than others
4.2 Adaptability – The Great Plains required them to adapt their farming techniques. Homesteaders who failed to adapt did not succeed
4.3 Weather – severe droughts of the 1870s and 1880s forced thousands of homesteaders into bankruptcy
4.4 Hard work and determination – those who survived were helped by a number of inventions and developments in homesteading

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