Presentation on theme: "The Midwest: Leaving the Farm. Lands of vast prairies and fertile farmland Present-day harvesting machines work the land much faster than horse- driven."— Presentation transcript:
Lands of vast prairies and fertile farmland Present-day harvesting machines work the land much faster than horse- driven plows once did
As in other regions of the country, the economy of the Midwest has come to rely more on manufacturing and services than it does on agriculture. Transportation is one example of an important service that strengthens the Midwest’s economy.
Farming in the Midwest has changed vastly in the past hundred years. Tractors have replaced the horse-drawn farm equipment. Electricity and roads and been brought out to rural farms. Today, technology continues to change the way people farm the land.
Inventions such as the steel plow, the windmill, and barbed wire helped settlers carve out farms on the plains. Drilling equipment helped to make wells deep enough to reach water. These tools also helped make farms productive. Technological advances continue to improve farming techniques today.
Several different crops are grown. This was a sensible way for small family farms to work. If one crop failed, the farm had others to fall back on.
In the early 1980s, there was a countrywide recession, or a downturn in business activity. The demand for farm products decreased and interest rates on bank loans increased. As a result, many farmers were not able to make enough money to pay their loans. Since 1980, more than one million American farmers have left their lands.
A small number of agricultural companies bought out those small family farms. When these agricultural companies combine several family farms into one large farm, it is called a corporate farm. Corporate farmers rely on machines and computers to do much of the work. This means that corporate farms employ fewer workers. Small family farms do still exist in the Midwest, but most of them struggle to make enough money to support their family. Farmers usually have another job, as well. People look to the cities for more job opportunities.
Many Midwestern cities began as centers for transportation and processing. Farmers from surrounding areas would send their harvests and livestock to nearby cities to be processed and shipped east. The largest processing city was Chicago, Illinois.
Located on Lake Michigan, Chicago was surrounded by prairies and farms in the mid-1800s. By the late 1800s, it had become a steel-making and manufacturing center. Today it is the hub of major transportation routes including highways, railroads, airlines, and shipping routes.
Two other large cities played a big role in the country’s history. For Detroit you will find the headquarters of America’s automobile manufacturers; this is why it is known as the Motor City. Located on the Mississippi River, St. Louis was the starting point for pioneers moving west. Its location on the banks of the Mississippi River made it an important city in the days before railroads. This city is known as the Gateway to the West.
In the late 1800s, the midwestern cities that grew the fastest were the ones located on railroad routes. Chicago became a railroad junction – a place where a number of railroad lines meet.
From colonial days to the present, Americans have been drawn westward, attracted by the promise of land. 1780s: Frontier stretched to the Mississippi River Early 1800s: Frontier included land to the Rockies 1850s: Frontier was land between Rockies and the Pacific Ocean 1900s: Frontier included Alaska and Hawaii
Water is an important resource of the West – more important than even gold. Farmers have always needed large quantities of water to irrigate their lands. Today, as large cities and their populations grow, people are demanding more and more water for everyday use.
Gold – California 1849 Colorado 1858 Silver Copper A mining town formed around each new discovery in the West Merchants and traders supplied miners with food, clothing, and tools – cost of living for a miner was extremely high Forty-Niners: First miners and prospectors of the Gold Rush; they arrived in 1849
To meet the needs of the continuously growing population after California’s Gold Rush, engineers built dams to pipe water through the mountains to coastal cities. Next to these dams they built Hydroelectric Plants to provide the power and water needed, but the dams flooded whole valleys in the Sierra Nevadas.
Balancing the needs of the environment, the community, and the economy. Examples: Dam building has stopped Logging companies plant new trees to replace the ones that have been cut down
Most westerners today are not miners, farmers, or loggers. Rather, they live and work in cities. Their challenge is to figure out how to use their resources wisely.
Located near the junction of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers 1800s a trade center for lumber, fur, grain, salmon, and wool 1930s – new dams produced cheap electricity
Founded early 1850s; population of over half a million people Pike Place Market – oldest continually run market in the country; farmers have sold crops and produce here since 1907
System that replaces individual cars with energy-saving buses or trains Created to help with over-crowded freeways and air pollution
Second most populated city in the country Population grew with the Gold Rush and the building of the transcontinental railroad. Known as head of the Entertainment Industry