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CH26 – The Great West & the Agricultural Revolution

Time Frame: 1865-1896

Objectives: At the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the nature of the cultural conflicts and battles that accompanied the white American migration into the Great Plains and the Far West.
  • Explain the development of federal policy towards Native Americans in the late nineteenth century.
  • Analyze the brief flowering and decline of the cattle and mining frontiers, and the settling of the arid West by small farmers increasingly engaged with a worldwide economy.
  • Summarize Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis regarding the significance of the frontier in American history, describe its strengths and weaknesses, and indicate the ways in which the American West became and remains a distinctive region of the United States.
  • Describe the economic forces that drove farmers into debt, and describe how the Populist Party organized to protest their oppression, attempted to forge an alliance with urban workers, and vigorously attacked the two major parties after the onset of the depression of the 1890s.
  • Describe the Democratic party’s revolt against President Cleveland and the rise of the insurgent William Jennings Bryan’s free silver campaign.
  • Explain why William McKinley proved able to defeat Bryan’s populist campaign and how the Republicans’ triumph signaled the rise of urban power and the end of the third party system in American politics.
  • [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Listen to a summary of Chapter 26″ dl=”0″]



  • West Web
    Excellent collection of Western U.S. history resources, created by Catherine Lavender, The College of Staten Island/CUNY