250px-Custer_Portrait_Restored

So, you’ve probably heard of Custer… some western movie somewhere? No idea? Well, you need to know who he is – because he’s often a focus for an exam question. Ready to learn all about Custer, his successes, and his failings? Then here we go…

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Gold Coins

 

 

The year is 1849. More or less. You’re a (reasonably poor) worker who works in a city on the Eastern seaboard of the USA. One morning you hear the news: gold has been found in California! Gold I tell you! You gather up your things, and leave, heading west immediately. Once you arrive, you buy an overpriced picaxe and set to work, hunting for gold. You find a small amount, however it’s going to take a while to mine. You come back the next day to find somebody else mining your claim! You go to approach them, but they look quite tough, ready to kill in fact.

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Buffalo

 

So, you know that there was a lot going on on the Great Plains mid-1800’s. The Native Americans lived peacefully there, hunting buffalo, mountain men lived with the Native Americans and worked in the Rockies collecting beaver fur. But why exactly were the Great Plains so important to white people:? I mean, they described it as “the great American desert”, it’s not like there was much there for them – yet they felt it necessary to disrupt the Native Americans, and wished to control the plains themselves (roll on the homestead act of 1862!) – why?

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