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United States Has Undergone Massive Expansions Since Its Humble Beginnings

In: Historical Events

Submitted By jaclyn1
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The United States has undergone massive expansions since its humble beginnings. One such expansion started in 1848 in what is now known as the Gold Rush. After President James K Polk validated claims of gold found in California, the rush began (PBS, 2006). Tales of riches to be had from the mining of gold caused massive amounts of people from all over the United States and beyond to migrate into California. The chance of making a better life from the easy money that could be made from the gold was, to many irresistible. According to Eyewitness to History, the population in San Francisco, California rose from seventy-nine buildings in April 1847 to about one hundred thousand buildings by December of 1849 (“The California Gold Rush”, 2003). As California was not yet a part of the United States this significant increase in population could have only helped to insure California be included into the United States and allow the United States expand its borders.

Gold was just one of many reasons for some people to migrate out west, fertile farmland was another. People are always looking for a chance to have a better life and this is no different from those farmers who migrated into the western plains. Farmers began to clear the land and the wheat that they had planted began to rise in value so much that even more land was cleared and more farming was done. That is until in 1931 when after the land had been overly farmed, a massive drought occurred (“The Dust Bowl,” n.d.). Because of the drought the crops began to wither and die and the soil began to erode. This loss in money from selling the crops, and from the loss in food, brought on a famine for the farmers and their families. Conditions in the Midwest declined with the continuation of the drought and the beginning of the dust storms of 1932 (Fanslow, 1998). Having lost all their crops, and their farms and homes families once again started migrating west out toward California and toward the ideal farmland once again (Fanslow, 1998).

The area between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers in what is now present day Iraq was home to an ancient civilization, Mesopotamia. This desert climate here is an unlikely area for agriculture to thrive, but that’s exactly what the Mesopotamians accomplished. The civilizations that settled here where drawn to the rich fertile soil left behind when the rivers flood (Soomo Publishing, 2012). This fertile land allowed people to build communities instead of constantly traveling for food (Soomo Publishing, 2012). The land here was so fertile and the crops that were produced so abundant that these communities we able to grow in size. Mesopotamians were able to craft and invent because of the surplus of food that was available. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the water that they provided were crucial to the development of the Mesopotamian cultures.

Mesopotamians, because of their location between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and lack of many natural resources had to constantly trade with other cultures. Mesopotamians had an excess of crops, pottery that they made and textiles that they then traded for wood, stone, etc. (Soomo Publishing, 2012). The Mesopotamian societies, especially those of the Sumerians were great inventors and were credited for the invention of the first chariot among other things (Soomo Publishing, 2012). Most people when they think of chariots do not think Mesopotamia but of Egypt. The fact that the chariot originated in Mesopotamia and then was later a major part of the Egyptian army is an example of diffusion. Ideas and inventions traveled between the cultures of the Mesopotamians and those with whom they traded.

Resource List:

PBS, (2006). The Gold Rush. Retrieved from

(2003). Eyewitness to History. Retrieved from

(n.d.). The Dust Bowl. Retrieved from

Fanslow, R. (1998). The Migrant Experience. Retrieved from

Soomo Publishing (2012). Geography. WGU History. Retrieved from

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