➊ Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence
Coastlines and river systems Among the most important physical features and resources of Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence country are its coastlines, harbors, ocean currents and network Fentanyl Research Paper lakes and rivers. Instead over Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence, people responded to tell of those injured and killed by the deadly vaccines. He believed The Village And 1984 Comparison Essay good governance, in helping the poor, and--Oh the horror! This is part of a superb article by a Christian activist and writer, Kelleigh Nelson, and the full story appears in News With Mulvey visual pleasure and narrative cinema www. Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence of Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence continued strength of British forces in North Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence, in Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence of the disaster at Yorktown, many expected Britain to continue fighting the war. Isaacson does a great job in bringing this almost exotic American to life and Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence his many unique accomplishments and contributions to American and world culture.
Kite Experiment - Benjamin Franklin's Kite Experiment
He states that gossip leads to virtue since it puts an end to improper behavior! He does admit though it must be used with discretion I am not looking for a fairy tale about Benjamin but the real truth, so I am not complaining. Only through chapter two: Finally a book that really draws my attention and makes me happy to be reading!! I am quite sure that this book will please. The information is clear and the author mentions details that are interesting. I am reading this book because I want to know who Benjamin Franklin was. By that I mean what kind of personality did he have, how would he instinctively react in a given situation and what are his weakness and charms.
I want to know him as a blood and flesh friend; friend because I am already enchanted by his directness, dislike of elitism, humor, industriousness and ability to "bend rules". Books were important to Benjamin. He was a youth of the Enlightenment, which appeals to me too. He lived from He enjoyed Daniel Defoe's writing and shared his principles. Here is an amusing detail: Defoe thought there should be established institutions for the mentally retarded.
The amusing part is that he felt a tax should be levied on authors to pay for these residences. Because clearly authors had been blessed with more brain matter than the retarded. They should thus care for those more poorly endowed! Benjamin was a vegetarian, at least for a while. He was not a vegetarian for moral reasons. By saving his money, eating less expensively, he could buy more books. Again, books are important! But then, on a boat trip, the cod sizzling on the grill smell "mmmm" so good! When filleting the fish, smaller fish had been found in the gut of the larger one, the one being cooked. He then conveniently reasoned: "If you eat one another, I don't see why we cannot eat you!
Also he was on his way to a better paying job. Clearly it helps that I like Benjamin's ability to poke fun at both himself and what he saw around him. I enjoy his tendency to rationalize, albeit in a manner that is "convenient". He knew quite well he was simply finding a convincing reason for doing exactly what he wanted. I like this book because almost every paragraph throws in extraneous information that interests me.
I didn't know that Puritanism was an effort to cleanse remnant Catholic practices from Protestantism. Puritans wanted to "purify" Protestantism. Reading this book, I am given much more than mere facts about Benjamin Franklin's life. I am listening to the audiobook narrated by Nelson Runger. He speaks clearly and very slowly. This allows one time to take small introspective excursions as you listen, and this I like to do. If you do not like glacial narrations, perhaps you should read the paper form of the book. Listening to a book often takes longer than reading the book. View all 97 comments. Dec 17, T-bone rated it did not like it. The only time this book caught my attention was when I fell asleep reading it in bed and dropped it on my face.
I stopped reading before I hurt myself further. This fascinating insight on page 82 was the last straw, "For the last 17 years of Deborah's life, Franklin would be away, including when she died. Nevertheless, their mutual affection, respect, and loyalty - and their sense of partnership - would endure. View 2 comments. Shelves: history , non-fiction , ultimate-reading-list , biography , science. This was a pleasure and just the kind of biography I find trustworthy. The kind that acknowledges other views and controversies and with extensive notes and sources in the back. More than that, it's the rare biography that can inspire smiles and even giggles--I'd mark this up to five stars if I could credit Isaacson for that--but the source of the humor is the frequent quotes from Benjamin Franklin himself.
Isaacson said in his introduction that "Benjamin Franklin is the Founding Father who wink This was a pleasure and just the kind of biography I find trustworthy. Isaacson said in his introduction that "Benjamin Franklin is the Founding Father who winks at us" and that proved to be so--his pragmatism and humor is the keynote to his character. Before reading this, if someone asked me which Founding Father I'd chose to have dinner and conversation with I think I would have chosen Jefferson.
After this it's hard not to name Franklin as a favorite and the one with the most winning personality--at least if you weren't married to him. Or one of his children. Franklin has his faults, goodness knows, and Isaacson doesn't gloss over them, but they just make him all the more poignantly human. I've heard it said that the Revolutionary War was really a civil war given how the lines between Patriots versus Loyalists cut through families. Of all the Founding Fathers, the cut was sharpest with Benjamin Franklin--his own son was the King's Governor of New Jersey and chose the opposing side. I did know that before reading this biography but there was plenty I didn't know--for instance that this man so identified with Philadelphia was born and grew up in Boston and spent so many years in England as well as Paris.
Isaacson, who wrote biographies of Einstein and Steve Jobs, does justice to not just Franklin the statesman but the inventor and scientist as well. And throughout and especially in his epilogue gives us not just an assessment of the man but the biography of how he was received by others such as Sinclair Lewis, D. Lawrence and John Updike. An engaging and lively biography. View all 6 comments. I loved this book. Isaacson did a fair and balanced job, describing the man without whitewashing over his flaws. By the end, I felt like Franklin was mine, like he somehow belonged to me. I knew he would be an interesting person, but I had no idea how much this man did with his life.
Nor did I understand just how involved he was before there was any US at all. We could still be a British colony without him - or even a French one! Something else I never learned in school, France's involvement. Th I loved this book. This is the opposite of a dry history book. This is real life, described in such a way that you feel like you were a part of it, and know all of the players. When Franklin left France for the last time, toward the end of his life, there were tears in my eyes.
This from a confirmed history dummy who has never had an interest! Well, that's all changed now. Thank you, Mr. Isaacson, for making this old patriot leap off the pages, and for making me know and really care for him, and for history, for the first time in my life. You deserve a gold star for sure. Jul 12, Jerome rated it liked it. Biographies generally bore me, and this was no exception. So pedestrian, so conventional, so obviously a poor rehashing of much better Franklin biographies that preceded this one. One wonders why Isaacson even bothered to write the book. Money, perhaps? Whatever his motivation, the result is underwhelming. One of the difficulties with biography is that you already know most of the plot, and you probably know how it ends too.
To create a sense of suspense and excitement, you need to need to do two Biographies generally bore me, and this was no exception. To create a sense of suspense and excitement, you need to need to do two things. First, you need to construct a "plot" that is more than just a chain of events - you need to turn this life into some kind of story. Second, you need to add enough originality and insight to give the reader something they hadn't thought of before - a new twist on a familiar tale. Isaacson does neither. He follows Franklin from cradle to grave, covering his life with reasonable thoroughness, some attention to alternative sources and points of view, and with excellent command of English grammar and vocabulary.
For this he is to be commended - his experience as a successful journalist shows. However, he has not managed to create anything that pulls the reader a long - neither the "what next" plot nor the "what will he tell me next" insights. The fault of the book, then, is its subject, but how Isaacson writes about him. Its chief fault is the lack of narrative flair: With the notable exception of the first and last chapters, we have a chronological account broken into small sections.
At times the book's equally weighted, well-ordered facts yield a pace that is both plodding and boring. The book is best when it manages to integrate larger themes with the strictly biographical details. View all 5 comments. Apr 20, Suzanne rated it really liked it Shelves: american-history , biography. This is a throroughly entertaining, well-researched, well-written biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson. It is lengthy over pages and one feels obligated to read the footnotes because they further the work.
The first third of the book moved quickly childhood, moving to Philadelphia, beginning life as a printer, Poor Richard's Almanac. The middle third bogs down life in England and France, the beginning of the Revolution and the final third picks up back in France, negotiat This is a throroughly entertaining, well-researched, well-written biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson. The middle third bogs down life in England and France, the beginning of the Revolution and the final third picks up back in France, negotiating the peace etc I realized while reading this that I had many preconceptions based on rumor regarding Franklin. Yes he was flirt and loved women, but there was only one illegitimate child not the rumored hundreds and he William Franklin became the Governor of New Jersey.
Franklin's wife Deborah with whom he had 2 children, Sally and a son who died as a child was "common-law" because she had been abandoned by her husband who disappeared to the Carribean. Divorce was illegal and without a death certificate, she could not remarry. It appears that he loved her but she would not travel with him and never left Philadelphia. So he went alone, and often stayed away for years. Sadly, despite her wish for him to return, he was in Europe for the last 15 years of her life. Hard to fathom. On a political level much of what our country is can be attributed to Franklin's vision and support of a middle class. Jefferson, who founded the University of Virginia, believed that the role of education was to train the future leaders of the world by handpicking the best and brightest, and giving them the best education.
Franklin totally disagreed believing that educational opportunities needed to be available to all, and based his founding of the University of Pennsylvania on those principles. Meritocracy, hard work, frugality Isaacson has a great writing style. Not a quick read, but really enjoyable. Dec 04, Dan rated it it was amazing. An excellent biography of America's greatest statesman. As told in this litany by Isaacson, it was astonishing to learn that so many principles of our government and constitution are in whole or in part Franklin's ideas or were ideas that Franklin advocated for.
I would say that the second half of this book, Franklin as the elder statesman, was as perfect a biography as I have read. Aug 13, Margaretann rated it really liked it. Went to the King Tut exhibit in and was equally impressed by the Ben Franklin museum - where the exhibit was shown in PA. Loved this book; learned so much - maybe I'm a nerd but it was a page turner that I looked forward to each day!
Jan 11, Brad Feld rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography. Isaacson is great at making a biography Ben Franklin is one of my heroes, along with Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, and a few others. Isaacson is great at making a biography flow easily so it reads like a cross between a novel and a non-fiction book. While everyone knows about his role in the American Revolution, American postmaster, printer, experiments with lightening, and invention of bifocals and the Franklin stove, here are a few that are not commonly known. The early Franklin was well-known for the virtues he stated and then worked on personally, not all at once, but systematically over time. When I reflect on them, I find them remarkably contemporary.
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. Imitate Jesus and Socrates. His personal life was fascinating, complex, and non-traditional. But, after all, we are all bags of chemicals and have lots of flaws. His skills as a politician and negotiator were just awesome.
His ability to stay calm in intense situations was awe inspiring. In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing. Content makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor. Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Mar 28, Sue rated it really liked it. A few years ago, I had a chance to visit the Franklin museum in Philadelphia. The all too popular image is of a bald man flying a kite under dangerous conditions, while spouting cheerful advice about thrifty and efficient living.
I resolved then to learn a bit more. Besides, I am a sucker for historical biographies. The chapters on the early years felt plodding. Perhaps there is too little actually known A few years ago, I had a chance to visit the Franklin museum in Philadelphia. Perhaps there is too little actually known to flesh those chapters out to a lively narrative. The basic information is there — the spirited and opinionated printer and the probing scientific mind mark him as an extraordinary thinker. When he retired from his Philadelphia print shop as a prominent, and sometimes contentious, citizen, he moved to a bigger arena, finally becoming Postmaster General for the colonies.
And along the way, he discovered some remarkable things about electricity. The book took off for me about a third of the way through, when we began to see Franklin at the center of ferment in the colonies. Franklin spent many years, on two occasions, in England as an agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly. The Assembly was particularly hampered by the fact that Pennsylvania was still a proprietary colony, in the hands of the Penn family. While the founder, William Penn, was regarded as admirable, his sons were more contrary, denying the Assembly the kinds of decision-making power that Franklin hoped for.
He had begun moving even as a young man toward the notion that the colonists — British subjects — should have some kind of parliamentary power. He also was interested early on in a high level of cooperation among the separate colonies. As Postmaster General, he had come to appreciate the value of some amount of unity. But he was no separatist. He was loyal to the crown, hoping for Pennsylvania to receive a royal charter like those of other colonies. He hoped also for a personal grant of Ohio land. The crown and Parliament were deaf to those pleas. Although Franklin was instrumental in helping to repeal the Stamp Act, he failed in other areas. He particularly hoped for permission for colonists to manufacture goods; they were not allowed to weave their own cloth, for example.
He was still in England when the infamous Tea Party occurred. Franklin was somewhat dismayed by this action, seen from the other side of the Atlantic. He may not have liked the elites, but he also had no liking for the rabble. While he became a political pariah in England, the renowned Mr. So there he was, loving his life in England, enjoying the company of great men and adoring women, not eager to return to Philadelphia, and hoping for Britain to recognize colonial rights.
But his efforts to speak on behalf of the colonies made him less and less acceptable to critical members of the British government. The Continental Congress had formed. With great sadness, he boarded a ship for Philadelphia. It was fascinating to observe his turmoil, wanting more respect for the colonies, yet wanting to be part of the kingdom. His transformation from loyal subject to rebellious colonist must have been mirrored in many other people in those years. Probably I tuned in more vigorously for these events because they are so much a part of our national consciousness. He was sent there to enlist French aid in the form of money as well as fighting forces. After he left Paris and returned to Philadelphia, he carried his skills at diplomacy and compromise into the Constitutional Convention.
As an elder statesman, he brought gravitas to the proceedings and a willingness to compromise. While he was not a principal source of many ideas, his sage presence was critical to its conclusion. His common-law wife, Deborah, never was willing to travel and would not leave Philadelphia to join him in England. When she had a stroke, followed by five years of poor health, Franklin did not return to Philadelphia, even when he was advised that she did not have long to live. His son William, who defied him by remaining a royalist and ultimately fleeing to London, sought a reconciliation after the conflict ended. Franklin was having none of it, and he managed to assure that William would be impoverished.
He was warmer to his grandchildren, especially the rather feckless Temple Franklin, but he could be dismissive of their needs when he had other priorities. Those priorities sometimes included a retinue of devoted women, bright and attractive ones who could claim his attention if not his bed. The concluding chapter is the most interesting of the book. He comes close to being a cipher for whatever age you happen to live in. He was the 18th-century embodiment of The Enlightenment in the New World, but as 19th-century thought evolved to a more romantic view of the world, he struck many as soulless. More importantly, Isaacson noted in a poetic summation… He devised legislatures and lightning rods, lotteries and lending libraries.
He organized neighborhood constabularies and international alliances. An abridged audio tape. America was so lucky to have men like Benjamin Franklin to start us off. I read his Autobiography as a high school student, and it inspired me to be a better person. I may read it again now. When I look at today's "conservative" movement, I am ashamed of it. It is truly a disgrace to our country. They could do well to study the lives of men like Franklin who worked hard to better himself but also to help others. He believed in good governance, in helping the poor, and--Oh An abridged audio tape. He believed in good governance, in helping the poor, and--Oh the horror! Oct 31, Ahn Mur rated it liked it. This took a while. Not that the two have a whole lot in common, but the sheer size of it reminded me of War and Peace; it felt like it was too long until after I finished it, wherein I could appreciate that the length itself was a necessary medium for expressing the shocking length of Franklin's life.
Though 85 is not altogether abnormally old, Franklin's life was subjectively twice that, full and productive as it was. The final chapter was especially important in conveying the overall takeaways This took a while. The final chapter was especially important in conveying the overall takeaways of Franklin's life. I actually wish I'd read the last chapter first, then read the book, then read the last chapter again. In it, Isaacson presents a number of viewpoints on Franklin and the interpretation of his life, embedded in a commentary on Franklin's role in the history and identity of the US, something that I as a Canadian found incredible and fascinating.
That being said, I still found much of this book to be quite dry. Isaacson dropped nuggets of amusement throughout ex. But could've been woven into the narrative with more finesse. Isaacson also devoted much of the book to recounting--in great detail--Franklin's MANY flirt-tationships. I'm not sure if this was one of my favourite things about the book or one of the most frustrating things about the book. I wanted to know more about his scientific endeavours, and yet, I now know too much about how he played chess in the bathroom of Madame Brillon while she languished in the tub Mar 29, Esme rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography. I had a problem paying attention to history in high school, and even in college.
I was way more focused on biology and astronomy and thought history was boring. As a result, whenever history comes up in conversation I feel way out of the loop and it's a tad embarrassing. I've been trying to rectify this by reading biographies and I thought it would be like pulling teeth, but it's been delightfully entertaining - I was not expecting that. This I had a problem paying attention to history in high school, and even in college. This book was written as though the author actually knew Ben Franklin, there's a bibliography in the back of the book that's around 60 pages long, it's extraordinarily well researched!
It was written in a tone like he was Franklins best friend, and is telling us stories and tidbits from his life not just a list of accomplishments and dates. I loved this part of it, it actually made a biography hard to put down, which I didn't know was a thing. I learned stuff right off the bat from the first page, and this guy lead one of the most interesting lives I've ever heard of. If he were a fictional character people would say he was written over the top and not believable. What I remembered from him in high school was he was an eccentric inventor who was also a politician, I didn't realize how he almost single handedly developed the city of Philadelphia.
He developed the school system and the tax system to pay for it - as well as helped out with the first school for black children. He practically invented the police department, taking it from a gang of paid thugs to a tax paid civil service - he did the thing for the fire dept, postal service, and militia. He went from being a Loyalist to King George to an outspoken Rebel who helped develop the Declaration of independence. I mean, there's about things I'm leaving off this list too, he dabbled with electricity and developed the lightning rod which was a big deal back then , and helped develop paper currency.
What I really loved about the author, though, is that he didn't glance over the negative aspects of Franklin. He had a very hard time maintaining personal and intimate relationships even with his own family. He really did not treat his brother, John, all that well, nor his son William - and his wife died alone. He did own slaves to begin with, and argued that America should be more white. Holy wow, this guys life was something else. The grumpus23 word commentary Remarkable life. A great patriot on one hand but an unsympathetic family man. Good book, but not my favorite Walter Isaacson biography. May 02, Joe rated it it was amazing. Isaacson is getting a lot of attention and reading right now for his Steve Jobs biography and there is some symmetry in his biography of Franklin, surely the Steve Jobs of his day, a comparison favorable to Jobs, for sure.
Isaacson does a great job in placing Franklin in his startling historical context. Ben Franklin is old! He is so old when he was born we even reckoned time by a different calendar - the Julian instead of the Gregorian. He was a contemporary of such old-timey Puritan giants as Isaacson is getting a lot of attention and reading right now for his Steve Jobs biography and there is some symmetry in his biography of Franklin, surely the Steve Jobs of his day, a comparison favorable to Jobs, for sure. He was a contemporary of such old-timey Puritan giants as Cotton and Increase Mather! The Salem Witch Trials had occurred a mere 14 years before his birth. Witchburning as as recent past for him almost what Beatlemania was for me The America in which he came of age was a truly different place than what it was for men like Washington and Adams.
Thomas Jefferson was young enough to have been his grandson! Isaacson does a great job in bringing this almost exotic American to life and enumerates his many unique accomplishments and contributions to American and world culture. I cannot do justice to it here, but Isaacson explains how many of Franklin's scientific accomplishments he coined the term "battery" for electrical storage and also came up with "positive" and "negative" charges as concepts remain impressive and even crucial to today's scientific understandings. Isaacson also demystifies much of the lore of Ben Franklin's sexual reputations: he was no saint, but nowhere near the libertine his enemies made him out to be.
His advance age and serious gout would have kept him from the kind of shenanigans he is famous for in France. Isaacson also give space to Franklin's constantly evolving spiritual understanding. He was certainly no orthodox Christian by any understanding, but neither did he die as the Deist he was famous for being in his younger days. Isaacson concludes with a gripping essay on Franklin's importance to American and even world history. There are perhaps none as versatile and as wide accomplished as Franklin in the annals of any nation.
Mar 25, Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship marked it as abandoned Shelves: united-states , research , biography , nonfiction. My apologies to the unknown library patron whom I forced to return this book so that I could check it out, right before the libraries shut down indefinitely. If I'd known, you could have kept it. First, this book is long and surprisingly dull for a popular biography. Second, as of page 92, where I finally decided to quit, there was remarkably little historical detail - it focuses in on the biographical aspects to the point that it's almost divorced from history, unusual for a biography of someon My apologies to the unknown library patron whom I forced to return this book so that I could check it out, right before the libraries shut down indefinitely.
Second, as of page 92, where I finally decided to quit, there was remarkably little historical detail - it focuses in on the biographical aspects to the point that it's almost divorced from history, unusual for a biography of someone who lived more than years ago. Third, it is chock-full of repetitive adoration of Franklin: barely a page passes without our being told that he was pragmatic and that whatever he's doing at the moment illustrates his pragmatic character. Or earnest, canny, frugal, etc. This is especially jarring given that much of the behavior described isn't actually admirable: driving another newspaper editor out of business to clear the field to launch his own paper; writing anonymous letters to his own paper criticizing his competitors and praising himself, including for his restraint in not criticizing his competitors; allowing his wife to be openly nasty to his son, her stepson; and publishing a piece a few weeks after his marriage about how wives need to serve their husbands in everything and "deny yourself the trivial satisfaction of your own will," among many similarly unfortunate exhortations.
Isaacson treats all this material uncritically, and I don't have much use for biographies that can't take an honest and balanced look at their subject, however widely loved that person might be. But Isaacson seems too enamored of Franklin's self-improvement schemes, all discussed in great detail, to do so. At any rate, there are plenty of Franklin biographies out there and I can't say I have much use for this one. If only the library would take it back! Apr 23, Chantal rated it liked it. This book gave me a much broader perspective on Benjamin Franklin. I had read his autobiography in junior high and loved it.
I determined that he was the genre of person I would have enjoyed as a friend. The man thinks like me in many respects. I adopted some of his ideas because they fit me. While I admired him, this book painted a more thorough picture of who he was, flaws and all. Now that I am an adult, it seemed appropriate to see the fuller picture of this character I thought so highly of. I discovered he was a words of affirmation guy. He loved a good practical joke. He was witty, but struggled with humility and often tried to feign humility.
There are, I discovered, aspects of him that would drive me crazy, and even ones that I would never respect. The book also explained little connections to my New England roots that I enjoyed learning about. It inadvertently revealed how I am related to Benjamin, which was so exciting to me. My overall first take home point was: Benjamin Franklin was human, just like the rest of us. But secondly, it made me realize that it is often human nature to put on a pedestal people who do great things, but great things really are accomplished by human beings, flaws and all. Mar 19, Bonnie Wilson rated it did not like it Shelves: abandoned.
I can't continue with this. Franklin himself is fascinating, but the author is entirely too enamored and uncritical. He also repeats himself over and over - to the point of repeating laudatory quotes about Frankin from other writers. Meanwhile, on less flattering fronts - like Franklin's initial attitudes toward slavery - he is quite brief and succinct, abandoning the minute detail with which he approaches Franklin's more admirable qualities. The author is also overly taken with Franklin as an av I can't continue with this.
The author is also overly taken with Franklin as an avatar of what he refers to repeatedly as "the American character" - a character the author defines as a thoroughly commendable in the author's estimation adherence to the notion that doing good and getting rich or at least very comfortably prosperous go hand in hand. The final straw was at around or so pages - a simpering account of Frankin's first extended "flirtation" in saccharine terms that are absolutely cringe-worthy. He flatly declares that these "romantic" episodes were "probably never consummated" without even a footnote to explain this assertion.
Just no. I would like to read more about Franklin, but not from this author. I would like to read a biography, not a hagiography. Aug 04, Brian Willis rated it really liked it. Readers searching for a readable, engaging, and page turning account of the least patrician of the Founding Fathers can search here for a very fun read through the life of Franklin. Filled with his aphorisms and wisdom, but never glossing past his failings his family life was very complicated to say the least , this book covers all of the great accomplishments: his publications, his entrepreneurship, his innovations, his diplomacy, his statesmanship, and finally his hidden hand behind many of t Readers searching for a readable, engaging, and page turning account of the least patrician of the Founding Fathers can search here for a very fun read through the life of Franklin.
Filled with his aphorisms and wisdom, but never glossing past his failings his family life was very complicated to say the least , this book covers all of the great accomplishments: his publications, his entrepreneurship, his innovations, his diplomacy, his statesmanship, and finally his hidden hand behind many of the important phrases and structures in American government. Detailed without being exhausting, I would recommend this book highly to readers of early American history and Franklin in particular. Well, sure, I thought equably, Now's as good a time as ever. Who knows when my interests, time, and chance may align again? Though I did a pretty great job in obtaining the book way back in November, thank you very much , which is a good first step.
Just to remind myself of the context of my life at a later date--the COVID pandemic is a few months old at this point in world history. Alaskan students haven't been in school in nearly two months, everyone is baking bread, the world economy seems to be on the verge of collapse. We meet by Zoom videoconference these days. Good times. Anyhow, I read the first page of the preface of my book club book about six days out from the meeting and found it delightful.
Which kind of surprised me because my initial reaction to the title was, "Who? Wait, why would I care? So I gave in and added the audiobook to my Audible account. After a day of yardwork Saturday , and a three-hour Sunday walk with my dog, Cooper, I motored on through that audiobook at a swift 1. Being a somewhat cheap person, however, I turned to my library's collection for the Ben Franklin biography I was in search of. What luck! They had it, and--even better--there wasn't a wait for it. I could have immediate gratification to my founding father whim. Jill Lepore's Book of Ages sets quite a backstory to the Franklins, beginning with their lineage in the 's, and examining their childhood with care. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
I was a little surprised, in fact, about how quickly his childhood was covered. After all, shortly after starting Ben's bio, I toggled over to Audible. Franklin's life. And then, actually, I was even more surprised about the pacing choices of the author. I mean, I was listening at credibly breezy speed, but still --save a little for the end, buddy Mr. Which is all just a really long way of saying that--whoops!
Didn't know I had borrowed an abridged version of the book. A mere 7 hours well, 4 hours on 1. I'm torn. Kind of? Did I enjoy it? Moen, P. Dempster-McClain and H. Pope, D. Sandel, M. Sargent, L. Woods, R. Zinn, H. Websites usinfo. Exercises Further reading Websites With an area of 3,, square miles 9,, square kilometers the United States is exceeded in size only by Russia, Canada and China. Of the fifty states, forty-eight lie between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and between Canada and Mexico, while two, Alaska and Hawaii, lie in the north-west corner of the continent and the Pacific Ocean, respectively. Island possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific add another 11, square miles 17, kilometers to American territory. Political ecology The most pronounced feature of the country is its variety.
Its natural environment varies from the arctic to the tropical, from rainforest to desert, from vast plains to rugged mountains. Exploiting its natural resources has depleted reserves, caused extensive pollution and shown a wastefulness that has led to dependence on resources from other nations, although the country's own natural riches remain a main support of its economic life.
Environmentalist movements and public concern since the mids have successfully lobbied for a huge national system of nature preserves and government monitoring and regulation of the environment. The use of natural resources has become a matter of balancing priorities among overlapping environmental, economic and cultural interest groups. Natural resources, economic development and environmental concerns Approached from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, the country's first land formation is the Atlantic Plain, a coastal lowland stretching from New England to the middle of Texas. Its soil is mostly poor but includes a fertile citrus-growing region and the Cotton Belt in the south, which have both been intensively developed for commercial farming.
The Plain's most important natural wealth is found along and in the Gulf, where much of the nation's crude-oil and natural-gas reserves are located. Water pollution from industrial development in the North and commercial fertilizers and oil-drilling in the South have posed the most serious threats to the Plain's environment. PLATE 2. As the nation strives for energy independence, politicians consider exploiting all available resources and distributing the environmental costs across the country. Inland from the Atlantic Plain, the land rises to the Piedmont, a gently rolling fertile plateau. Along the eastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where rivers running down to the Atlantic form waterfalls.
When water power was used for grain and textile mills, America's first industrial cities grew up along the northern fall line near the coast. The Piedmont rises to the Appalachians, much-eroded mountains from Canada to Alabama that separate the eastern seaboard from the interior. These mountains, the Appalachian Plateau, and the rugged ridge and valley country to their west delayed European invasion and settlement see Figure 2. Although the Appalachians and the upland sub-regions contain minerals, only iron, building stone and coal are found in large quantities.
The coal deposits in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, in the area called Appalachia, are among the world's largest and once provided fuel for developing industry in the north-east and the Great Lakes region as well as for heating homes across the nation. West of the Appalachian highlands lies the Central Lowland, a vast area stretching from New York state to central Texas and north to Canada, which resembles a huge, irregular bowl rimmed by the Great Lakes and highlands. The iron ore in one of these, the Mesabi Range at the western edge of the Lakes, transported inexpensively over the Great Lakes to the coal of Appalachia, made the development of America's industrial core possible.
The Central Lowland is not entirely flat. The glacial moraine, an area of rocky territory with many lakes, runs along a line just north of the Ohio and Missouri rivers. On both sides of the moraine, the lowland has a table-like flatness except near rivers that have dug gorges. The lowland also varies in rainfall and temperature. Rainfall decreases towards the west, resulting first in a change from forests mixed with fields to the prairies, where trees are rare. Farther west, the high prairie grass changes to short grass at the inch centimeter annual rainfall line where the Great Plains begin see Figure 2.
From north to south, the long winters of the Upper Midwest change to the snow-less winters of the gulf states. The natural resources of the Central Lowland, which is often called the nation's breadbasket, are its soil and fossil fuels. The fields of oil and gas in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were the nation's most important domestic supply until reserves in Alaska were tapped. Across the lowland the increase in large-scale agribusinesses in recent years has produced intense efforts to deal with unwanted side effects, including polluted water supplies from plant fertilizers and insecticides and the leakage of concentrated animal feed and sewage from industrial pig, chicken and freshwater fish farming.
The Great Plains is a band of semi-arid territory almost miles kilometers wide between Canada and Mexico. The plains rise so gradually towards the west that large parts of the region appear to be utterly flat. The buffalo grass of the plains makes them excellent for ranching, but some areas, watered by automated artesian wells or irrigation, are now high- yield farm country. From the western edge of the Great Plains to the Pacific coast, a third of the continental United States consists of the Cordillera mountain chains the Rockies and the Pacific ranges and the basins and plateaus between them.
Surrounding the Plateau is the desert Southwest. Valleys and plains rather than mountains occupy much of the Middle Rockies. The Wyoming Basin has provided a route through the mountains, from the Oregon Trail that pioneers followed to the inter-state highways of today. In the northern Rockies are vast wilderness areas and the Columbia Basin, which is etched by the remarkable canyons of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The western arm of the Cordillera consists of two lines of mountains with a series of valleys between them. In from the coast are the highest peaks, including active volcanoes. All these valleys are blessed with rich soils, and the more southerly were relatively easy to irrigate. Since the invention of refrigeration, these valleys have supplied the nation with fruit and vegetables.
The mountains between the valleys and the coast include major earthquake zones, such as the San Andreas Fault, which caused the quake that leveled San Francisco. Distributing limited water resources fairly, however, rather than earthquakes, seems to be the most serious environmental challenge to a majority of westerners. Largely fragile tundra, Alaska's interior is composed of mountains, broken plateaus and fairly flat valleys with a cold inland climate. Much of coastal and island Alaska has a temperate climate because of warm ocean currents. The building of the trans-Alaska pipeline, coastal oil spills and, as recently as the presidential election campaign, the debate over plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ANWR to oil exploration have tested the nation's will to protect Alaska's nature.
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, the governor of the state, joined her party and a large majority of Alaskan voters in supporting the opening of the ANWR during the campaign. The American Cordillera are world-famous for veins of precious metals, such as the gold of the Sierra and Yukon and the Comstock silver lode of Nevada. More recently, industrial metals such as copper and lead have been mined. Large occurrences of oil and gas are found in California and Wyoming, and the Colorado Plateau contains uranium, oil shale and soft coal.
To extract the oil and coal, say mining companies, open-pit and strip-mining are necessary. Conservationists, on the other hand, argue that this mining devastates parts of the plateau as thoroughly as it destroyed areas of the Great Plains and Appalachia. The natural riches of Hawaii are vegetable rather than mineral. Trade winds give the islands a temperate climate. The volcanic mountains catch much rain on the windward side of the islands so that the leeward side has only moderate rainfall. Coastlines and river systems Among the most important physical features and resources of the country are its coastlines, harbors, ocean currents and network of lakes and rivers.
The shallow waters of the continental shelf off the North Atlantic coast known as the Great Banks contain many kinds of fish and attracted fishermen from Europe even before European settlers established their first colonies in the New World. By the s the famous cod stocks there had collapsed from international over-fishing, however, and made the need to manage these maritime riches clear to the USA and Canada. The east coast has a warmer climate because of the Florida Current. Fine harbors and estuaries made the sites of New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore excellent locations for trade. The great eastern water systems are those that drain the Central Lowland: the Mississippi with its major tributaries and the Great Lakes-St.
Lawrence system. One of the world's great inland water networks, the Mississippi system, carries freight from New Orleans north to Minneapolis and east to Pittsburgh. Western tributaries of the Mississippi are mostly unfit for navigation, but since the s the Missouri has carried heavy barge traffic as a result of dams, locks and dredging. Because canals connect it to the Mississippi, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system functions as the second half of one vast network of inland waterways.
The biggest group of freshwater lakes in the world, the Great Lakes carry more shipping than any other inland lake group. The fertile farmland surrounding the lakes and the iron, lumber and fossil fuels near their shores supported the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the Midwest in the s. The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in made the lake cities international seaports by bypassing the obstacles to ocean-going freighters in the St. Lawrence with huge locks.
On the west coast, limited rainfall and scant mountain run-off dry up all but three river systems, the Columbia, the Colorado and the San Joaquin-Sacramento, before they reach the sea. They do not support shipping, but the west's largest rivers have brought prosperity by providing hydroelectric power and irrigation. The Columbia, once a wild white river, now runs down through dams and calm lakes, turning the arid plateaus of Washington state into vegetable gardens and supplying electrical power as well as drinking water to several states and Native-American cultures.
The Colorado serves the same purposes on a smaller scale. Proposals for its further development have met opposition because more dams would destroy the beauty of the Grand Canyon and other canyon lands. Conservation, recreational areas and environmental protection Although the country's population is now over million, most of these people live in relatively small areas. Some parts of the country are not suitable for urbanization because of climate or difficult topography. Others have been set aside as recreation areas or wildlife preserves. These and other factors give the USA a great variety of national, state and local parks and open spaces. In the USA, conservation of natural beauty and resources through national parks gained acceptance in the late s, with vocal support from President Theodore Roosevelt, among others.
Yellowstone National Park, the first nature preserve created by Congress, was put under federal control in The Park Service now administers over different sites, whose combined territory exceeds 40, square miles , square kilometers of land and water. There are national parks in all parts of the nation, but the largest and most famous are located between the Rockies and the Pacific. Government protection of the parks means controlled development. According to federal law, the government must balance the interests of developers, holiday-makers, environmentalists and Native Americans. Concerted lobbying of Congress by grass-roots groups and highly organized environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society soon resulted in a series of landmark federal laws.
In the same year an independent regulatory body, the Environmental Protection Agency EPA , took on the national government's responsibility for monitoring and protecting America's natural environment, and the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the duty of identifying and reducing airborne pollutants. By the end of the s the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and the Superfund statute, which provides emergency federal funding for eliminating the health hazards of toxic-waste sites across the nation, were in effect. These laws have been repeatedly strengthened and extended in the decades since their enactment because of the environmental damage caused largely by sprawling urban development, new and outmoded industrial sites, and innovative commercial forms of farming and food processing.
The middle latitudes are, however, known for wide variations in temperature and rainfall, and the great size of North America reinforces these differences. In general, the more distant a place is from an ocean, the more it has temperature extremes in the summer and winter. Most climates in America are distinctly inland because, with the general eastward movement of air across the country, the Cordillera mountain system limits the moderating influence of the Pacific to a narrow strip along the west coast. Thus, San Francisco experiences only a small differential between winter and summer temperatures, but coastal cities in the Northeast have the same range of temperatures that extend from the Rockies to the east coast.
The easterly direction of weather systems across the country also means the Atlantic Ocean has only a weak moderating influence. Rainfall Rainfall from the Pacific Ocean is so confined to the coastal strip by the Cordillera that the areas between the mountains and the Great Plains are arid or semi-arid. Farther east, rainfall increases because warm, moist air moves up over the nation's middle from the Gulf of Mexico, producing rainfall. This rain often comes in cloudbursts, hailstorms, tornadoes and blizzards, with rapid temperature changes as cold Canadian air collides with warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico.
The seasons In winter, dry frigid Canadian air moves south, spreading cold weather to the plains and lowlands and causing storms at its southern edge. In summer, that stormy edge moves north as gulf air brings hot weather that eliminates much of the temperature difference between the north and south. Along the Pacific, seasonal changes follow another pattern. Winter in the Pacific north-west is overcast and drizzly as a result of warm, moist air from the Alaskan coast.
Southern California is a climatic refuge in winter because of its mild temperatures and long periods of sunny weather. In summer, the Pacific north-west has mild air from the Pacific, and, except in the mountains, is nearly rainless. Farther south, summer means dry, hot air and high temperatures. Autumn in the north-east and upper mid- west is marked by mild days, frosty nights and crystal-clear skies. Spring here brings temperate weather, but autumn and spring are also the seasons when the gulf and Canadian air masses lurch most violently together, spawning hurricanes along the gulf and Atlantic coasts in the fall and tornadoes in the Mississippi valley in the spring.
Recent developments in the study of geography emphasize how political the subject is because mapping the physical world divides it in ways that decide where people belong and how resources are managed and distributed. More than one meaningful division of the country into regions is possible, and cultural regions defined as groups of states give only approximate borders because cultural boundaries rarely coincide with political units. Individual Native-American cultures, geographic areas and states, moreover, often show a unique mixture of traits that makes their inclusion in regional cultures inaccurate at best.
Native-American cultural regions Many distinctive Native-American cultures existed when Europeans arrived in the mids. An estimated 10 million Native Americans then lived in cultures with several hundred mutually incomprehensible languages and widely varying social structures. Any survey of cultural regions in such a diversity of groups must focus on broad similarities. See Figure 2. In the woodland eastern half of the country were areas now known as the north-eastern and south- eastern maize regions, where a variety of native cultures depended on hunting, fishing, farming and gathering.
These are called maize cultures because maize, or corn as it is called in the USA, was the most important staple of the Native-American diet. The longer growing season in the south-eastern maize region resulted in more extensive and highly developed agriculture. In the east as a whole, most housing was constructed of wood, bark and thatch. Women and children usually farmed while men hunted and fished.
The Native-American cultural area in the prairies and Great Plains is known as the plains or bison region. For thousands of years the population of this area was sparse compared with other parts of the continent. People lived along waterways and depended on river-bank farming, small-game hunting and gathering. Lacking any other means of transportation, they went on a communal buffalo bison hunt once a year on foot.
Then, between and , they discovered how to use the horses that reached them from Spanish-controlled areas to the south, and plains cultures were transformed. The population grew because the food supply increased dramatically when bison were hunted on horseback. Learning of this, some tribes, such as the Dakota, migrated from nearby woodlands to the open steppes farther west. Plains peoples exchanged their settled farming customs for the nomadic culture of year-round buffalo hunters, discarding sod lodges for the portable tipi and evolving a society dominated by a warrior hunting class.
The groups transformed by the arrival of the horse the Blackfoot, Crow, Cheyenne and Dakota are among the best-known of Native Americans, largely because of their fierce resistance to white settlement on their hunting grounds. The Native-American cultural region called the south-west once encompassed a diversity of native cultures, nomadic hunters and gatherers as well as farmers, but most of its people relied on advanced forms of irrigated agriculture.
These cultures all traced ancestry through the female line, and men did the farming while women owned the fields. The Navajo and Apache were latecomers to the region, hunters and gatherers who migrated south from the Canadian plains between AD and and who adopted farming from the pueblo-dwelling peoples. The Navajo later learned sheep-raising, peach-growing and silver-working from the Spanish, while some Apache groups took up aspects of nomadic plains cultures, such as the tipi and hunting buffalo on horseback, and copied cattle-raising from Spaniards and Americans.
The California-intermontane cultural area included the barren territory around the Colorado plateau and most of California. The nomadic hunters and gatherers who lived here are often considered materially the poorest of the continent's native cultures. On the other hand, their loosely organized family bands are often praised for their democratic political traditions and peaceful way of life. The plentiful nature available to the coastal cultures from northern California to southern Alaska made them a stark contrast to highland cultures of the nearby inland areas.
Among the most advanced groups of related cultures north of Mexico, the north-west peoples lived in coastal villages similar to independent city states. Well supplied with wild plants and game, the Chinook, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, Haida and Tlingit did not need to farm. Fishing for salmon represented their primary economic activity, but saltwater fishing and whaling were also important. They made long seagoing canoes and massive wooden lodges, decorating these household items and totem poles with symbolic carving. These peoples of plenty are well known for the potlatch, several days of feasting during which a leading family gave its guests extravagant gifts. The north-west coastal peoples were among the few non-agricultural societies to practice slavery, which was common in Native- American farming cultures.
Today both men and women among the Navajo practice the sheep-herding learned long ago from the Spanish. The Inuit arrived relatively late and wanted to distinguish themselves racially from Native Americans living farther south. The coastal peoples are skilled sea-hunters, while the inland cultures are based on hunting big game. The Inuit of Alaska are settled villagers who build underground sod-walled houses. Fast and efficient dog sledges and kayaks made it possible for them to live in one place and supply themselves with food. Indigenous Hawaiians gathered food from the tropical forests, terraced mountain sides and irrigated their fields to grow crops. Expert open-sea fishermen from outrigger canoes, they also built semicircular fish ponds along the seashore.
The common people lived in small areas where they had limited rights to fish, water, wood, wild foods and farming. Attitudes toward the land Attitudes toward land and land-ownership in Native American cultures varied. Group possession and the communal use of land were most common. Almost all native groups had a concept of their own territory that was theirs by long residence and whose boundaries they defended or extended as circumstances demanded. Picturing native cultures as idealized societies in which land had only spiritual value is invariably wrong because it romanticizes and oversimplifies the realities of life in North America before European settlement.
The Indians were aware of their dependence on the land, which led most native cultures to deify or revere nature. On the other hand, some cultures exploited their environment until it became depleted. Others over-hunted until some animals became extinct. If resources became scarce, groups moved to meet their needs, and conflict with other cultures resulted. Cultural regions in the contemporary USA Political geography Today's cultural regions result from varying mixtures of increasingly global antecedents, with Native- American elements, at their most noticeable, representing one of several continental ingredients.
The main American regions are much-used concepts for understanding subdivisions of American culture and society. Still, US regions tend to be less distinct than those in older, more demographically stable countries. The high mobility of the American population adds to the homogenizing effects of popular mass culture, modern transportation, urbanization and the centralization of the economy and government. The north-east The north-east often seems to be one unit when viewed from other sections of the country. In fact, the north-east is arguably still the nation's economic and cultural center, and is two regions New England and the Mid-Atlantic rather than one. New England itself is often divided into two parts.
Southern New England Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island has long had a cultural importance out of proportion to its size, natural resources and population. Massachusetts received a very large number of early colonists from Britain and rapidly developed stable institutions, cohesive communities and an expanding population that strongly influenced the rest of New England and the northern half of the country during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Americans trace several aspects of the nation's traditional core culture to southern New England. The region supposedly also bequeathed the country belief in the so-called Puritan work ethic, the faith that hard work and good morals are rewarded in this world and the next. In the mid-nineteenth century, New England authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed central values that for over a hundred years were taught in US schools as the foundation of the entire nation's culture.
In the s New England Yankees became famous for their economic ingenuity, as traveling peddlers, clipper-ship captains and mill owners. The fall line near the coast, by providing cheap water power close to trade routes, made the region the cradle of American industry. When industry converted to steam and electricity, the region lost manufacturing jobs to parts of the country richer in the natural resources essential to modern industry. One of New England's greatest strengths in its economic competition with other regions today is its concentration of quality institutions of higher education and research. New England is now a leader in innovative business methods, publishing and high-technology industries. The region's tourist industry flourishes because of its scenic qualities and status as a repository of the nation's history.
The northern zone of the region Maine, Vermont and most of New Hampshire , with its woodland mountain areas, has developed a lucrative industry providing summer cottages and second homes for people who want to escape east-coast cities. With a larger, more varied population, better soil and a greater share of natural resources, the mid- Atlantic region surpassed New England in trade and manufactures during the s. During the next century, these advantages helped the mid-Atlantic region grow into the nation's commercial-industrial hub.
Its harbors became the nation's premier port cities, and here too the fall line provided cheap water power. The mid-Atlantic also has passages through the Appalachian Mountains. First roads, then canals and later railroads followed these east-west routes as they opened western New York, Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes states to settlement and carried farm products to the coastal cities of the mid-Atlantic. The Erie Canal, joining Lake Erie with New York City, made the cost of shipping a ton of freight from the lake to the city nearly twenty-four times cheaper, and thus the pattern of transportation down the inland rivers to New Orleans rapidly shifted towards New York, which became the nation's largest and wealthiest city.
By the later s, transportation and trade welded together New England, the mid-Atlantic region and the big cities of the Great Lakes and inland rivers. Although it includes agricultural areas, the distinguishing aspect of the core is still the size and closeness of its racially and ethnically mixed industrial cities. Like New England, this region has had to develop new jobs, diversify its economy and recruit employers with tax breaks and social services. But the economic tug-of-war between the regions continues, and the south and west still attract more jobs and people than the urban core.
Far from homogeneous, the south has two sub-regions, the lowland south on the Coastal Plain and the upland south in the Piedmont, southern Appalachians and Ozarks. Many observers argue that the rural and urban south has lost much of its traditional character because of economic transformation and migration from other parts of the nation and abroad. The distinctiveness of the southern lowland developed with the earliest settlement along the Atlantic coast. The first colonists, Englishmen who came for economic rather than religious or political reasons, did not find the gold and silver that Spanish discoveries made them dream about, but the climate and soil proved suitable for growing and exporting cash crops such as tobacco and cotton, which required much manual labor but offered huge profits.
Soon estates larger than the family farm called plantations became common and resulted in dispersed settlement with a few small urban centers. To meet the need for field-workers, plantation-owners imported white indentured servants people who sold themselves into virtual slavery for four to seven years to pay for their passage to North America. By the late s, however, planters turned to Africans sold into permanent slavery for labor. African slavery existed in all the American colonies, but became the main source of workers only in the plantation south. As late as the s, a proposal to end slavery failed by only one vote in the Virginia legislature. It was cheap fertile land to the west, improved machinery for harvesting cotton and high prices for the crop from northern and British textile mills that made cotton the backbone of the early Industrial Revolution.
This development confirmed the contrasts between the industrializing north and the slave-dependent south that led to the Civil War. Although slavery ended with the Civil War, cotton remained the region's main cash crop into the s, and most African Americans remained dependent on their former masters for work and a place to live. Agriculture is still important, but today its products are much more varied.
Industry has also moved south because of low energy and labor costs and natural resources such as iron ore, bauxite, oil, gas and vast pine forests. Since the Civil Rights laws and voter-registration drives of the s, the important roles of African Americans in public life and their support for the Democratic Party have driven most conservative white Americans to the Republicans, making the south a two-party region for the first time in a century. The rapidly growing Latino population further complicates the picture by voting largely as Democrats.
Still, surveys indicate that southerners as a whole remain less educated, more religious, more conservative and more predominantly old-stock American than the population of the other regions. The mid-west The mid-west includes the states bordering the Great Lakes and two tiers of states west of the Mississippi river from Missouri and Kansas north to Canada. The Great Lakes states with their many manufacturing centers are called the industrial mid-west, although they are also important farm states. In similar fashion the two western tiers of states are called the agricultural mid-west, in spite of industrial cities such as St. Louis and Minneapolis.
The early routes of western migration through the Appalachians met in the Great Lakes states, making them the first place where the cultures of New England, the mid-Atlantic and the south combined. By the Great Lakes mid-west was well integrated into the markets of the north-east, and during the Civil War it gained a proud sense of its identity from having sacrificed men and wealth for the preservation of the Union. After the war, the settlement of the trans-Mississippi agricultural mid-west was completed as steel-plated ploughs tore up the deep-rooted buffalo grass of the prairies and Great Plains and turned them into farmland. In the s, machinery and new strains of winter wheat made these areas some of the most productive farmland in the world.
In recent decades mid-western industrial cities have made great strides towards economic and environmental recovery, despite persistent problems with the loss of manufacturing jobs, slums and urban blight that follow in the wake of de-industrialization. Today Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland, for example, can boast of glamorous downtown convention centers, museums and resurgent industries that no longer pollute the air and water.
Chicago, the national hub of the commodities market, an important international seaport and the home of widely diversified industry and cultural institutions, remains the region's premier city. Mid-western political traditions show a mixture of pragmatic caution and organized protest. While the region has the reputation of being conservative, it was the birthplace of the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery and nominated Lincoln for the presidency.
Later, the agricultural mid-west was home to the Populist and Farmer-Labor parties, which protested against the economic domination of the north-east, and a center of the Progressive Movement, which strove to make American governments more honest, efficient and democratic. Mid-western states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, have since then been leaders in social and environmental reform. The region's population grows increasingly diverse due to arrivals from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It represents possibility, freedom, self-reliance, the future. As a region, it is made up of three parts: the south-west, the mountain states, and the Pacific coast.
The south-west consists of New Mexico, Arizona and parts of surrounding states with a similar climate and culture. Seized during the Mexican-American War of , this area now has a mixture of old, unusually strong Spanish-Mexican and Native-American communities - and a blend of people from many parts of the country and world who came in large numbers after Today cattle- and sheepranching are important for the economy, but dams on the major rivers and wells have transformed deserts into irrigated farmlands and metropolitan areas, such as Phoenix and Albuquerque. The warm, dry climate has proven attractive to retirees, people with respiratory ailments as well as electronics and aerospace companies. Mining, the petroleum industry and tourism, in the south-west's stunning national parks, are also important economic supports.
The federal government is the largest landowner in the south-west and even more clearly dominates the economy of the mountain states. The importance of its decisions about the leasing of federal lands becomes obvious when one learns that the government owns over four-fifths of Nevada, two-thirds of Utah and vast areas of the sub-region's other states. The traditional independence of longtime residents is increasingly frustrated by their lack of control over local resources.
During World War II and the Cold War the federal government used desert areas of the south-west as test sites for a range of nuclear and conventional weapons with effects that are still hotly debated. The population density is low but appears to be growing so rapidly that some westerners think in-migration and development are nearing their acceptable limits. The mines brought the outside investment, transportation infrastructure and business that laid the financial foundation for urban areas such as Denver and Butte. Agriculture depends on ranching and forestry because other forms of farming require irrigation, and water rights have become as precious as rare metals. Las Vegas and Reno found wealth through the gambling and entertainment industries.
Today it prospers by expertise in computer software and technology as well as by mining and irrigated agriculture. European settlement of the Pacific coast began with the establishment of Spanish missions in California in the s and included Russian and British domination of the Pacific north-west before the USA gained sovereignty over the area in the s. The coastal territories attracted sizeable populations and qualified as states before the interior west because of the Gold Rush and reports of the lush greenness of the Oregon and Washington valleys. By the s it was an industrializing metropolis that produced finished goods which successfully competed with imports from the east.
Today the city is the hub of a larger area that includes Berkeley and its famous university, Oakland with its many industries, the Silicon Valley complex of computer firms, Stanford University and the Napa Valley wine district. Los Angeles has experienced rapid population growth ever since it became the terminus of a transcontinental railroad in The LA metropolis, a group of cities connected by a maze of highways, is home to the Hollywood film and media conglomerates as well as major energy, defense and aerospace companies.
California's two largest urban areas contain every major racial and ethnic group in the nation, with especially large Asian and Latino elements. Politically, southern California has the reputation of being conservative, while the northern part of the state is considered liberal. In the Pacific north-west the population and culture show less Latino and more New England and north-west European influence, while Asian-American groups are as well established as farther south. During the past thirty years, so many people and businesses have relocated to Washington and Oregon that state authorities have attempted to limit growth. Their avowed goal is to preserve the environment and quality of life through a mixed economy based on agriculture, forestry and tourism, as well as on heavy and high-technology industries.
Resource and land-management are major issues in Hawaii and Alaska, as they are in the continental west. Hawaii's government instituted a detailed landuse system soon after it became a state in The law not only provided areas for commercial, industrial and residential building, but also protected farmland, nature reserves and tourist attractions. In the nineteenth century, settlers from the mainland recruited large numbers of Asians to work on plantations.
Today, the people are highly urban and have a make-up that is unique in the nation. The majority is Asian American, with people of Japanese extraction constituting the largest nationality group. White people make up the largest minority, followed by smaller groups of Latinos, African Americans and native Polynesians. Much of its history has involved struggles between resource-hungry developers, who lease land from government and create jobs for local residents, and conservationists, who lobby public authorities to restrict land-use because they view Alaska as the last chance to preserve an American wilderness.
Until Alaska won statehood in , settlers and natives there subsisted primarily through fishing, hunting and logging. Except for the short-lived Klondike Gold Rush of , the area seemed destined to prove right the skeptics who said the country had, in , bought a ridiculously expensive Russian icebox containing only sealskins and salmon. During the s and s, Alaska received a wave of immigrants who wanted to escape the congestion and pollution in the forty-eight contiguous states. The negotiations over how the environment should be preserved and the profits from the oil shared were the most critical in Alaska's history. The huge amounts of land and money Native Americans received in compensation gave them an entirely new status. To safeguard wildlife and the tundra, the trans-Alaska pipeline was insulated and lifted several feet above ground.
The results of oil development have been mixed. The population grew rapidly, reaching over half a million by , but, though the per-capita income for Alaskans is the highest in the nation, so is the state's unemployment rate. Much of Alaska's employment boom was temporary. In the supertanker Exxon Valdez went aground and spilled millions of gallons of oil on Alaska's coasts. The demands for a clean-up united environmentalists, the fishing and tourist industries, Native-American organizations and ordinary citizens.
Still, because the nation's economy remains largely dependent on fossil fuels, the fleets of tankers plying local coasts seem likely to grow, especially if drilling begins in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Changing public attitudes: where do we go from here? Two-thirds foresaw a critical energy shortage in the next five years. Few Americans are ready to give up modern lifestyles and technology, but many have understood that quality of life in the future means reconciling environmental and pro- development interests to manage the nation's natural resources wisely.
In polls since early roughly a two to one majority of Americans preferred conserving existing supplies of coal, gas and oil to finding new sources of these energy sources. Presidential figures have taken stands in this debate and have received a varied response. On the one hand, small opinion poll majorities supported the Bush administration's criticism that the Kyoto Protocol was likely to hurt the US economy, and on the other, in the victory the public gave Democrat Barack Obama, it elected a leader who promises to revive the Protocol, energize American involvement in international efforts to deal with global warming and search for alternative energy sources. Faced with gas prices that soared and then plummeted and an economic crisis that took homes and jobs from millions, the public voted for change but gave mixed signals to the victor.
Shortly after the election as the economy worsened the public ranked protecting the environment further down on its list of concerns, after several economic and national security problems. See Table 2. TABLE 2. Outline the main physical features of the US, describing the country's most important natural resources and commenting on the environmental cost of their use. Discuss the causes of differences between Native-American and contemporary American cultural geography. Describe US pollution problems and conservation efforts with the attitudes shown in the text and Table 2.
Time, weekly magazine. US Bureau of the Census, occasional series and reports. It is a major reason that the nation's total population grew to million by They thus changed their homelands, America and their family histories forever. This view continues to face the opposition of those who believe newcomers should leave their homeland cultures behind and the dilemma of deciding what is necessary to hold the country and its increasingly diverse population together. PLATE 3. There is some truth to the dream. From her beacon hand Glows world-wide welcome: her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The contacts, conflicts and mixing of cultures have fueled widespread discrimination, economic exploitation, antiforeign movements and debates over equality, opportunity and national identity. In a country whose history began with the meeting of Native Americans and European colonists and continued through the importation of African slaves and several waves of immigrants, there has never been a single national culture.
The search continues for a metaphor that captures the character of American society. Is it best understood as an Anglo-American core culture into which newcomers sooner or later merge as they assimilate? Some commentators reject both the claims of a unitary culture and of cultural pluralism, preferring instead forms of multiculturalism, in which multiple traditions are the ideal, and no cultural group, however old or influential historically, receives priority. Americans disagree over the nature of the process and what the ultimate goal should be: the integration, assimilation, even homogenization, of newcomers or the acceptance of a permanently pluralistic society.
Early encounters between Europeans and Native Americans When European explorers and settlers encountered Native Americans in the late s, a long history of mutual incomprehension and conflict began. These encounters amounted to a collision of worlds. Europeans and Native Americans caught diseases from each other. Europeans survived the first contacts better, but for most of the seventeenth century well over half of them died from difficulties in adjusting to the new environment. The Native Americans fared far worse: epidemics annihilated entire native cultures. North America's pre-Columbian population of 5 million shrank to between 1 and 2 million. The exchange of plants and animals had effects that were just as far-reaching.
Horses, donkeys, sheep, pigs and cows were alien creatures to Native Americans. Potatoes, maize and tobacco were discoveries to Europeans. The potato played a key role in the great population growth that brought millions of European and smaller numbers of Asian immigrants to the USA in the s. European societies were so diverse that Spaniards and the English could hardly imagine living in the same place in peace. Some Native-American cultures viewed other indigenous peoples with a dislike no less intense. Yet, each continent's diversity of cultures were related, even quite similar in broad outline, when compared with cultures from the other continent. Thus, all Europeans tended to look alike to Native Americans, and most Europeans seemed incapable of seeing Native Americans as anything but a single people.
To Europeans, Native Americans seemed lazy and wasteful of nature's potential. Viewing time as fluid, they had only vague concepts of the past and the future, and so seemed utterly unreliable. From the first European settlement until today, the main focus in conflicts between these continental culture systems has been land ownership. The founders The people who established the colonies are considered founders rather than immigrants because they created the customs, laws and institutions to which later arrivals the first immigrants had to adjust. The Spanish occupied coastal Florida, the south-west and California in the s and s.
After trying to enslave the natives, they worked to convert them to Christianity, farming and sheep-herding. Because many natives rejected this way of life, the Spanish colonies faced border attacks for over years. The English established their first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, in Their monarch had no desire to rule distant colonies, so instead the Crown legalized companies that undertook the colonization of America as private commercial enterprises. Virginia's early residents were so preoccupied with a vain search for gold and a sea passage to Asian markets that the colony floundered until tobacco provided a profitable export.
Because of the scarcity of plantation labor, in the first African laborers were imported as indentured servants free people who contracted for 5 to 7 years of servitude. Supported by tobacco profits, however, Virginia imported 1, free laborers a year by the s and had a population of 75, white Americans and 10, Africans in hereditary slavery by In the s, Lord Baltimore established Maryland as a haven for Catholics, England's most persecuted minority. Maryland's leadership remained Catholic for some time, but its economy and population soon resembled Virginia's.
In the s, other English aristocrats financed Georgia and the Carolinas as commercial investments and experiments in social organization. Within a generation, these colonies too resembled Virginia, but their cash crops were rice and indigo. The southern settlers warred with the natives within a few years of their arrival and by the s drove the Native Americans from today's South. To escape religious oppression in England, the Pilgrims, a small group of radical separatists from the Church of England, founded the first of the northern colonies in at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Puritans, who established the much larger Massachusetts Bay colony in , wanted to purify the Church of England, not separate from it. To that end, over 20, emigrated in around ten years.
By the latter s, the bay colony had expanded to the coast of present day Maine, swallowed up Plymouth, and spawned the colony of Connecticut. Flourishing through agriculture and forestry, the New England colonies also became the shippers and merchants for all British America. The earliest European communities here were Dutch and Swedish outposts of the fur trade that almost accidentally grew into colonies. New Netherlands, along the Hudson River and New York Bay, and New Sweden, along the Delaware River, recruited soldiers, farmers, craftsmen, clergymen and their families to meet the needs of the fur traders who bought pelts from the natives.
New Sweden lasted only from to , when the Dutch annexed it. New Netherlands itself fell to the English fleet in They also set the precedent of toleration for many ethnic, racial and religious groups in New Amsterdam. Although the dominant culture in colonial New York and New Jersey became English by the end of the s, the English authorities continued the tolerant traditions of the Dutch in the city. As with the Pilgrims and Puritans, official English tolerance took the form of allowing persecuted minorities to emigrate. Penn's publicizing of cheap land and religious freedom brought some 12, people to the colony before His toleration attracted a population whose diversity was matched only by New York's.
The first wave: colonial immigration, The founders had come for economic gain and religious freedom, but their descendants gave the first large wave of European newcomers a warm welcome only if they were willing to conform to Anglo-American culture and supply needed labor. It was with mixed rural New York settlements of north-west Europeans in mind that St. The only people who mixed in his vision, however, were north-west Europeans, and he required that the people in this first version of the melting pot had to turn their backs on their homeland cultures. Like the colonists everywhere at the time, he thought that the white people along the wilderness frontier, like the Native Americans, soon descended into savage barbarism, and he tolerated them primarily because they provided a protective buffer against the natives.
Although conditions in their homelands also played a decisive role, this first wave was possible only because after the Crown opposed emigration from England and Wales but encouraged it from other nations. In , King Charles II licensed the Royal African Slave Company as the supplier of slaves to English colonies, and during the next century about , Africans arrived after surviving the appalling conditions and brutal treatment on slave ships. The largest group of immigrants voluntary newcomers were the Scots-Irish. With encouragement from the English, their ancestors left Scotland for northern Ireland in the s. Yet, roughly a quarter of a million of them left northern Ireland for the American colonies after because of economic discrimination by the English.
Most paid their passage across the Atlantic by becoming indentured servants. Constantly looking for better land, the Scots-Irish are the source of the stereotype of frontier folk, who feel it is time to move if they can see the smoke from a neighbor's chimney. This moving scattered their settlements from western New England to the hill country of Georgia and made it difficult to preserve their cultural heritage.For The Book Thief Death Theme support, they concentrated their settlements. Does this book include much information on Franklin's inventions? Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence trace several aspects of the nation's traditional core culture to Benito Mussolini Fascism Analysis Electricity Revealed In Benjamin Franklins Declaration Of Independence England.