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USA: 1840-1895 - Conflict Between White Americans And Plains Indians

One subject looked at in GCSE History is the history of the USA between 1840 and 1975. The first era studied is the late 19th Century and the spread of Europeans into the heart of North America. This is the second of two quizzes looking at that topic and it focusses in particular on the conflict between white Americans and the Indians who lived on the Great Plains.

White Americans had settled both the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, but the Great Plains in between had been hardly incorporated into the USA. Native Americans (Red Indians) occupied them, and the potential for conflict loomed seriously, as White Americans were more and more tempted to encroach on Indian lands.

Test your knowledge of the conflict that came to the Plains Indians in the late 19th Century in this quiz.

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  1. What phrase means that White Americans were bound to expand the USA until it extended from coast to coast?
    Many White Americans, especially those who were pressing westwards towards the Rockies, believed that America would eventually include the whole continent. This feeling influenced their attitude to Native Americans who seemed to be "in the way"
  2. Several treaties were signed early in this period to permit White Americans to send immigrants, to construct roads and to station troops along trails from the Great Plains, through the Rocky Mountains and down to the Pacific Ocean. One such agreement was the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. To which established trail did it refer?
    There was plenty of potential for conflict over such accords, such as difficulties of interpretation or misunderstandings over language
  3. Pike's Peak, the Black Hills of South Dakota and Montana all witnessed influxes of Whites after 1859. They were all intent on acquiring a particular commodity in these areas. Which commodity?
    Those who took part in such crazes cared little for established agreements, and thus they provoked conflict with Native Americans
  4. A religious group trekked across the Great Plains looking for a haven, where they could practise their faith from 1846 onwards. They established themselves in Utah, and received regular fresh influxes of co-religionists thereafter. They have a share in creating the hostility that marked relations between Indian tribes and Whites in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. What was the name of the sect?
    Like the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, they were determined to find space where they could be free to practise their faith away from interference and persecution. Unfortunately, in their search for such space they were likely to encroach on the rights of Native Americans
  5. In which year was the first continental railroad completed?
    Competing railway companies were determined to cross the Great Plains, and to cut through the Rockies to reach the Pacific Coast. Inevitably they came into conflict with Native Americans, and so they played their part in the battles that were a feature of this period
  6. In 1876 General Custer was defeated in battle and killed during the course of a Sioux rebellion. At which battle did this occur?
    This was a major setback for the US government in its quest for stability on the Great Plains
  7. Which Native American leader inflicted the above defeat in 1876?
    The Sioux and their allies were able warriors - especially as they felt that they were defending their traditional lands and way of life
  8. Indiscriminate hunting in the 1880s slaughtered to extinction the kind of plains animal on which Native Americans had traditionally relied for food. Which creature was this?
    Modern firearms made short work of this population of animals, which had sustained Native Americans for countless generations
  9. White Americans got their revenge for Custer's death in 1890, when US government forces killed large numbers of Native Americans near the site of the 1876 battle. Where did this incident take place?
    The massacre is important in US mythology. Indian tribes' resistance was now effectively over
  10. Native Americans were now herded into designated areas. What was the name of such places?
    Such areas exist to this day, but they represent a fraction of the land area that Native Americans regarded as their own before 1890

Author: Edward Towne

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