the West

108: First Century of Statehood, Part III (The Removal of the Native Americans) | Georgia Stories

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Segments: The Story of William McIntosh, A Visit to New Echota, and The Trail of Tears.

Westward Expansion | Crash Course US History #24

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In which John Green teaches you about the Wild, Wild, West, which as it turns out, wasn't as wild as it seemed in the movies. When we think of the western expansion of the United States in the 19th century, we're conditioned to imagine the loner. The self-reliant, unattached cowpoke roaming the prairie in search of wandering calves or the half-addled prospector who has broken from reality thanks to the solitude of his single-minded quest for gold dust. While there may be a grain of truth to these classic Hollywood stereotypes, it isn't a very big grain of truth. Many of the pioneers who settled the west were family groups. Many were immigrants and major corporations.

The Industrial Economy | Crash Course US History #23

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In which John Green teaches you about the Industrial Economy that arose in the United States after the Civil War. After the Civil War, many of the changes in technology and ideas gave rise to this new industrialism. You'll learn about the rise of Captains of Industry (or Robber Barons) like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller, and JP Morgan. You'll learn about trusts, combinations, and how the government responded to these new business practices.

Custer's Last Stand - Custer Behind the Scenes

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Watch this behind-the-scenes look at a program about westward expansion and General George Custer, from American Experience: "Custer's Last Stand."

The Comanche and the Horse | Native America

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The image of American Indians on horseback is iconic, but indigenous populations didn’t actually encounter horses until the 15th century, when Europeans ironically brought them to America as weapons of conquest. The Comanche adopted the horse as an important ally to help protect their way of life. Comanche used the horse to hunt and for strength in battle, and on horseback Comanche were able to remain mobile enough to avoid the impact of European diseases. But in 1875 the U.S. began targeting these horses, which were by then integral to Comanche identity.

Despite the European conquest the Comanche are still here, with 15,000 members, and the spirit of the horse remains sacred.

Ann Curry: Irish Immigrant Homesteaders

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In this episode, journalist Ann Curry learns about her great-great-grandparents, Margaret and William Hill. Margaret was born in Ireland, around 1840, immigrating to the United States with her mother as a child, likely fleeing the potato famine. Margaret met William in America, and they would join 1.6 million people as Homesteaders, helping to settle the western United States. 

In 1862, with an intent to help settle the American West, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law. This law allowed for any adult citizen, immigrants or those who had applied for citizenship - regardless of race or gender - an opportunity to acquire land in the west. Those that applied and were accepted would have the chance to own 160 acres of government land. For many, especially young immigrants like Margaret and William, this was a way for them to realize their dreams of becoming property owners. For America, it was a chance to settle the west and build an agricultural nation. 

The Irish-Americans were among a steady stream of immigrants to take the opportunity to receive a land grant. In the 1870s, there was a concerted effort through advertisements to encourage Irish people to Nebraska. 

In total, the government distributed 270 million acres of land, or roughly 10% of the land in the entire United States. Claimants were required to live on the property for five years and show that improvements had been made. Approximately 60% of Homesteaders did not succeed in meeting the requirements.

210: The New South, Part II | Georgia Stories

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Georgian life changed during the beginning of the 20th century. Atlanta experienced the worst disaster it had seen since Sherman in the 1917 Atlanta fire. There was also a strike at one of the major cotton plants, a strike the workers would go on to lose. Out in the country, Martha Berry started a school for poor Georgia children.

The Overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani

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Learn about the causes and the aftermath of the coup d'état of January 1893 that overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy, in this video from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Hawaii's Last Queen. Find out how the "Committee of Safety," a secret group organized by white sugar plantation owners, businessmen, and descendants of missionaries, set up a provisional government to replace the Hawaiian monarchy. Defying U.S. President Grover Cleveland, their ultimate goal was to overthrow Queen Lili‘uokalani and seek annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States.

The Bayonet Constitution

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In this video from American Experience, witness the events of 1887 that limited the power of Hawaiian King David Kalakaua. By then, most of the wealth of Hawai‘i was in the hands of the owners of sugar plantations, descendants of American missionaries who had come to the islands earlier in the century. A secret league of landowners, joined by an armed militia, forced the king to sign what he called "The Bayonet Constitution," making him a puppet ruler and giving them a greater say in the government. Soon afterward, Kalakaua had to sign a reciprocity agreement with the U.S. government, allowing the U.S. to establish a permanent naval base at Pearl Harbor.

The Trail of Tears | Georgia Stories

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Even after the treaty ending Cherokee presence in Georgia was signed, many Indians waited, hoping that it would not happen. However, their removal did happen. Cherokee Indians were rounded up by U.S. soldiers under the command of Gen. Winfred Scott and herded into stockades until all were assembled. Mavis Doering recounts the words she heard from her grandmother who was on the Trail of Tears.

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