Category Archives: March
As the United States forged west in the 19th century, one of the largest obstacles – and unanticipated wonders – was the rugged and diversified terrain that stretched from future Idaho close to what would become the US-Canada border. The diversified region was home to the rocky Teton Mountain range, steamy geysers, wide-open spaces where bison roamed, and indigenous Native Americans. After the Civil War, the government sent several expeditions to scout Yellowstone’s lands, the most famous of which was the team of Ferdinand Hayden. With Hayden came photographer William Jackson and landscape artist Thomas Moran, who together showed Americans back east visual proof of Yellowstone’s natural majesty. In a decision that would set a precedent for many future state and national parks, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Act in 1872, preserving more than a million acres of wildlife from destruction or consumption. In the next fifty years, interest in America’s natural geological marvels would peak, as the National Park Service was formed and treasures like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Everglades were preserved.
Why do you think so few people explored Yellowstone during America’s age of “Manifest Destiny?” Even today, very few people populate the area. Why do you suppose that is?
Located in the western central region of the country, Nebraska is a richly fertile, sparsely populated state with many rivers. Its name comes from “Nebrathka,” the Oto distinction for the Platte River. Like many other tribes living on the Great Plains, the Oto were driven to reservations within and outside Nebraska’s borders. Americans claimed Nebraska through the Louisiana Purchase, and it was explored during the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Mostly, Nebraska served as a thruway for travelers on the Oregon Trail, or fur trappers and gold miners travelling to the Pacific. It wasn’t until railroads were built that Americans realized Nebraska’s fertile fields and settled there to raise cattle and corn. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened it for settlement, but led to the difficult and bloody question of slavery that ushered in the Civil War. After the messy war, Nebraska was admitted to the Union in 1867. Today, Nebraska is a critical to American agriculture and is also a leader in the cattle industry. Its people, nicknamed the “Huskers,” live mostly around the Missouri and Platte Rivers.
Why is agriculture so important to Americans?