Unit 08: Cotton, Cattle, Railroads, and Closing the Texas Frontier



This unit bundles student expectations which relate to economic development in Texas following the end of the Civil War. This unit is primarily a study of economic development. In the latter half of the twentieth century the cattle industry in Texas flourished, while the agricultural sector also expanded. Many new innovations were introduced at this time, such as windmills that facilitated economic development in Texas. It was also during this time that railroads were built across Texas, facilitating further economic development and the first moves towards urbanization in the state. Eventually the railroads and the enclosure of land, brought about by the invention of barbed wire, resulted in the closing of the Texas frontier. An examination of the development of the cattle industry and the expansion of the railroads is important for understanding the development of the Texas economy.

Prior to this Unit

Prior to this unit, students learned about Texas’ role in the American Civil War and the changes brought about by Reconstruction. Students also examine the principles of the Texas Constitution. In Grade 4 students learned about the institution of cattle drives in Texas and the settlement of the Texas frontier following the end of the Civil War, including the building of railroads.

During this Unit

During this unit, students study about the conflict brought about by westward expansion in Texas, the development of the cattle industry in Texas, the expansion of railroads in Texas, and the changes in the agriculture industry in Texas. Additionally, students continue to develop historical inquiry skills by acquiring information from various sources, identifying multiple viewpoints in sources, and evaluating sources for bias and validity. The social studies skills TEKS 7.21A; C; D; F; and G included in this unit support the historical inquiry process that should be incorporated into classroom instruction and assessment.

After this Unit

In the next unit, students study about the development of the oil industry in Texas.


Source: TEKS Resource System

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