Ch 5.3

SECTION 3 Life in the West

  1. To describe the challenges and opportunities for women in the West
  2. To analyze the reasons for the growth of western cities
  3. To explain how Mexicans were affected by American settlement
  4. To identify myths about the West

Chapter 5 – Section 3

Different groups of settlers helped to shape the West. 


  • Women in the West     (p. 166-167)
    • Women worked on the homestead - land and the house on it.
    • Women were teachers, domestic servants, sheriffs, gamblers, and even outlaws.
    • Women in the West could own property, control their own money.
    • Women in Wyoming could even vote (1869)
  • The Rise of Western Cities (p. 167- 168)
    • Gold and silver strikes turned small towns into booming cities.
    • San Francisco, California, gold rush of 1849 resulted in it changing from a small town to a city of 25,000 in one year.
    • Denver, Colorado, wasn't even a town until 1857 and within 10 years became the capital of Colorado Territory.
    • Omaha, Nebraska, became a great meat-processing center for cattle ranchers
    • Portland, Oregon, was the regional market for fish, grain, and lumber.
  • Mexicanos in the Southwest (p. 168)
    • Mexicanos - people living in the Southwest of Spanish descent whose ancestors/relatives came from Mexico
    • 1840's - United States began to have control in the Southwest because Mexico was defeated in the Mexican War and because of the annexation of Texas (attach to something larger). 
    • Now Anglos (English-speaking white settlers) moved to the Southwest looking for opportunities in ranching, farming, and mining.
    • Mexicanos lost economic power, political power, and their land.
  • The Myth of the Old West (p.168-169)
    • Myth – a false belief, story, or idea.
    • Romantic myth of the West – place where brave men and women lived.  White pioneers viewed as heroes.  Native Americans portrayed as villains.  African Americans not even mentioned.
    • William “Buffalo Bill” Cody – buffalo hunter turned businessman performed in a Wild West show that highlighted some parts of western life.
  • The Real West (page 169)
    • Many people helped to settle the West
      1. Mexican Vaqueros – taught Americans ranching skills
      2. Native Americans and African Americans helped with cattle ranching too.
      3. African Americans served in the U.S. Army in the West and were called “buffalo soldiers”.
      4. Chinese immigrants helped build the western railroads.
    • The U.S. government helped the settlers
      1. Removed Native Americans from the land and moved them to reservations.
      2. Government financed the building of railroads.
      3. Gave away free land to the settlers in the West.