[Illustration: A typical prairie sod house]
Over this region, the Dakotas, Montana, Kansas, and Nebraska, wander herds of cattle, the slaughtering and packing of which have founded new branches of industry. The stockyards at Chicago make a city.
[Footnote 1: Read “Dakota Wheat-Fields,” Harper’s Magazine, March, 1880. Also a series of papers in Harper’s Magazine for 1888.]
%527. Oklahoma.%—The eagerness of the “cattle kings” to get more land for these herds to graze over had much to do with the opening of Oklahoma for settlement. Originally it was part of Indian Territory, and was sold by the Seminole Indians with the express condition that none but Indians and freedmen should settle there. But the cattle kings, in defiance of the government, went in and inclosed immense tracts. Many were driven out, only to come in again. Their expulsion, with that of small proprietors called “boomers,” caused much agitation. Congress bought a release from the condition, and in 1889 opened Oklahoma to settlement.
%528. The Boom Towns.%—A proclamation that a part of Oklahoma would be opened April 22, caused a wild rush from every part of the West, till five times as many settlers as could possibly obtain land were lined up on the borders waiting for the signal to cross. Precisely at noon on April 22, a bugle sounded, a wild yell answered, a cloud of dust filled the air, and an army of men on foot, on horseback, in wagons, rushed into the promised land. That morning Guthrie was a piece of prairie land. That night it was a city of 10,000 souls. Before the end of the year 60,000 people were in Oklahoma, building towns and cities of no mean character.
Within fifteen years Oklahoma had a population of over half a million; and Congress provided (1906) for the admission, in 1907, of a new forty-sixth state, including both Oklahoma and what was left of the old Indian Territory.
1. One important result of the Civil War was a great industrial revolution.
2. Mining for precious metals, the Northern Pacific Railroad, and other causes led to the admission into the Union of Colorado (1876), North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington (1889), Idaho, Wyoming (1890), Utah (1896), and Oklahoma (1907).
MECHANICAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS
%529. Mechanical Progress.%—The mechanical progress made by our countrymen since the war surpasses that of any previous period. In 1866 another cable was laid across the bed of the Atlantic Ocean, and worked successfully. Before 1876 the Gatling gun, dynamite, and the barbed-wire fence were introduced; the compressed-air rock drill, the typewriter, the Westinghouse air brake, the Janney car coupler, the cable-car system, the self-binding reaper and harvester, the cash carrier for stores, water gas, and the tin-can-making machine were invented, and Brush gave the world the first successful electric light.