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American West Exam Prep. Ranchers Versus Homesteaders

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#1 fairytalelove<3

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 03:21 PM


i've been going through past exam papers in preparation for my exams in may.

unfortunately i've come across a question i cannot answer, i was wondering if someone could help me?

"why was there conflict between the cattle rancers and the homesteaders?"

i'm not too sure of what to include, i've found my notes on texas fever, and how the homesteaders cattle died from it whereas the texas longhorns didn't. i'm not sure whether i need to include how the homesteaders prevented the cowboys from travelling through their lnd by putting up barbed wire. i think it's relevant..

but i don't think my teacher has been through anything else that i could include :(

please could someone help me? i'm so confused.


#2 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 06:45 PM

One reason for conflict was the 'carzy quilt'. When the cattle ranchers were first settling the plains, the government allowed them watering and grazing rights to the nearest watershed, however little land in the valley they bought. This loophole had allowed the ranchers to build up huge de facto ranches whilst buying the minimum of land. The problem was that they did not OWN all the valley, and, of course, later homesteaders came in, bought the land the ranchers hadn't, and began poutting up fences.

This led to the second reason they clashed - conflict over water. The ranchers wanted to get at the water and grazing; the homesteaders believed they owned the water and grazing on their land. Some ranchers began to dam streams upstream of homesteaders' farms to force them to leave.

The third reason was rustling. They way ranchers had always worked was that they left cattle roaming on the plains, then they went out in the spring and branded all their cattle. Once a year. When the homesteaders arrived, they often adopted the attitude that any cattle on their land were theirs, and they caught and branded them; the cattlemen regarded this as theft, and hanged the homesteaders as rustlers. Oh, and yes, many homesteaders were REAL rustlers.

The biggest clash between farmers and ranchers was the Johnson County War.

You may find this webpage useful: http://www.eyewitnes...com/butcher.htm

This is very hard but very relevant and interesting: http://www.fee.org/p.../moriss0304.pdf

and you might be interested in this review of Shane - the film about the Johnon County War: http://www.answers.c...t=entertainment

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