STUDY GUIDE USII.2 -- Geography
 The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, and tables for
a) explaining how physical features and climate influenced the movement of people westward;


Physical features/climate of the Great Plains
• Flatlands that rise gradually from east to west
• Land eroded by wind and water -
• Low rainfall
• Frequent dust storms

How did people’s perceptions and use of the Great Plains change after the Civil War?
1850-1890 - Before 1860, those who crossed the Mississippi generally traveled all the way to the west coast. Few settled in the Great Plains.

Living on the Great Plains presented many challenges. The winters were bitter cold. There were few rivers and streams for water, and few trees for wood. Low rainfall caused drought and dust storms. Fierce winds and frequent dust storms eroded and blew away the soil. The remaining tough soil was thought to be unsuitable for farming. Before the Civil War, the Great Plains were considered a "treeless wasteland".


Encouraged by the Homestead Act of 1862 which gave willing farmers land on the Great Plains, and new technologies which allowed people to live in more challenging environments, farmers and immigrants flocked to the Great Plains during the decades after the Civil War. People began to see the Great Plains no as a "treeless wasteland" but as a vast area to be settled.

How did people adapt to life in challenging environments?
During the latter half of the 19th century, perceptions of the Great Plains changed. Technological advancements allowed people to live in more challenging environments. People began to perceive the Great Plains not as a “treeless wasteland” but as a vast area to be settled.
Some of the innovations and technologies that encouraged settlement of the Great Plains and help people adapt to the challenging environment of the Great Plains were:

• Railroads

1860-1890 The railroad network in the US grew fast. The Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, was made of many different lines. It linked the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and opened the vast interior to people who wanted to settle there. The railroad made trade between different parts of the country easier, encouraging industrial and economic growth.

• Beef Cattle Raising

In the early 1800s, cattle ranches began appearing on the Great Plains, especially in Texas. Demand for beef was high, and as railroads developed, ranchers would drive their cattle north to meet up with the lines.



• Barbed wire
The invention of barbed wire allowed farmers to keep cattle from nearby ranches off their fields and away from their crops.

·    Wheat farming
 Farmers adopted an improved strain of Russian wheat which required less water and grew well in the dryer soil of the Great Plains.

·         Steel plows
With improved steel plows, farmers could break up the tough soil.




   Dry farming  

Farmers learned they could grow crops on the dry soil if they plowed deeply, breaking up the tough sod with the new steel plows.







• Sod houses
Lacking trees and other materials, settlers on the Great Plains built their homes from sod, a sort of packed dirt held together by roots and cut into squares.

• Windmills

New models of windmills were used throughout the Great Plains to pump water from the ground and to provide power.

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

CLICK on these photos to enlarge them

The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, and tables for
b) explaining relationships among natural resources, transportation, and industrial development after 1877.
How did advances in transportation link resources, products, and markets?
Advances in transportation linked resources, products, and markets.
• Transportation of resources - Railroads - Railroads could reach interior areas, including places where an inadequate water supply or rough terrain made canals impossible. By 1840, the United States had almost three thousand miles of track; by 1860, a network of thirty thousand miles linked most of the nation's major cities and towns.
• Moving natural resources (e.g., copper and lead) to eastern factories
Copper and lead mines discovered in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. It was shipped by rail to eastern factories.
• Moving iron ore deposits to sites of steel mills (e.g., Pittsburgh) In the mid-1800s, huge, easily mined deposits of high-grade iron ore were discovered in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Because iron ore could be transported more economically than coal,  the other ingredient needed for steel, iron ore was shipped by rail to Pittsburgh. By 1860 Pittsburgh became the center for the emerging new steel industry. The need for armaments in the Civil War gave a great boost to the city’s iron industry.
The new Bessemer process allowed iron and coal to be converted cheaply into steel, which was manufactured into a variety of products - from nails to rails.

• Transporting finished products to national markets
Producers used the railroads to ship raw materials to factories and to send manufactured goods from factories to markets around the U.S.

What are some examples of manufacturing areas that were located near centers of population?

Examples of manufacturing areas clustered near centers of population.
• Textile industry—New England

• Automobile industry—Detroit

• Steel industry—Pittsburgh
The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, and tables for
c) locating the 50 states and the cities most significant to the historical development of the United States.

Explain that states are grouped by region as follows:

·        Northeast: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Southeast: Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas
Midwest: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota
Southwest: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona
Rocky Mountains: Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho
Pacific: Washington, Oregon, California
·        Noncontiguous: Alaska, Hawaii.

Explain how cities serve as centers of trade and have historically had political, economic, and cultural significance to the development of the United States. Provide examples of cities, including the following:

·        Northeast: New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
Southeast: Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, New Orleans
Midwest: Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit
Southwest: San Antonio, Santa Fe
Western (Rocky Mountains): Denver, Salt Lake City
Pacific: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle 
Noncontiguous: Juneau, Honolulu

Santa Fe - Capital of New Mexico - During the 1850's, many people headed west on the Santa Fe trail which stretched from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe. From Santa Fe, other trails took travelers on to California and elsewhere.

San Antonio - Texans here staged a revolt against Mexican rule, but were slaughtered by Mexican General Santa Anna at the Alamo.  With the battle cry "Remember the Alamo", Texans eventually  captured the Mexican dictator and Texas became an independent republic.

New York City - By 1850, already the most populated American city.  Most immigrants arrived at Ellis Island. Many remained in NYC and many moved to other parts of the U.S.

Pittsburgh - Steel manufacturing center

Chicago - Center of meat packing industry

Detroit - Center of automobile industry