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A Profile of the United States Chapter Six

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1 A Profile of the United States Chapter Six
A Resource Rich Nation Section One

2 An Abundance of Natural Resources
The United States is the fourth largest nation in the world in terms of area. The United States is the third most populous nation on earth. The United states is one of the wealthiest nations on earth. The GNP- Gross National Product is the highest in the world. GNP is the total value of the nations output of goods and services.

3 Farming the Land One of the most abundant natural resources of the U.S. is the land. Native American groups have benefited from it since the earliest days. They grew crops such as: maize, squash, beans, cotton, and tobacco. Once the United States was established as a nation, over 75% of its people lived on farms. The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged people to settle in the Great Plains and farm the land. This region soon became the “breadbasket” of the nation. Less than 25% of Americans live on farms today, but we produce $50 billion dollars of farm exports annually.

4 Clearing the Forests Forests are another major natural resource of the United States. They provide material for: lumber, furniture, paper, rayon, photographic film, artificial sponges, charcoal, methanol, medicinal chemicals, maple sugar, and plastics. The lumber industry started on the east coast with the shipbuilding industry. It soon moved to the south, due to milder climates. Today nearly 50% of the nation’s lumber industry is west of the Rocky Mountains. Forests are a renewable resource, if managed carefully. Today many forests are set aside as national parks. Harvesting regulations are helping preserve our forests for future use and enjoyment.

5 Finding Wealth Underground
There are an abundance of natural resources that are found underground in the U.S. The three main ones are coal, oil, and natural gas. Coal is a solid fossil fuel that is used as a source of energy for industry, transportation, and homes. The U.S. produces 20% of the world’s coal supply. Oil and natural gas are fossil fuels that lie beneath the central western plains and Alaska. These are non-renewable resources and must be managed carefully as they are vital to our nation’s economy and national security. The U.S. also produces very significant amounts of copper, gold, lead, titanium, uranium, zinc, and other non-fuel minerals. These are important for use in many different industries.

6 Travel Over Water In the 1800’s transportation was faster on water than by land. Despite this fact it was still slow. It took six weeks to go down the Mississippi River and four months to go back up the river. The invention of the steam engine changed all of this. By the 1850’s steam boats were a common site on rivers nationwide. Canals, or artificial waterways were also built in the early 1800’s. Both of these developments in transportation made travel by water cheap and easy.

7 Movement Over Land Steam-powered railroads later replaced steamboats as the most efficient means of transporting goods. A transcontinental railroad linking the east and west coasts was completed in 1869. By 1900 a network of railroads spurred economic growth. The invention of the automobile in the 1890’s started the next revolution in transportation. The new diesel engine was also used to drive heavy duty modes of transportation such as ships, trains, trucks, and tractors. By the 1950’s as more and more people owned cars, the nation began to build an interstate highway system. This network of roads linked major U.S. cities across the nation.

8 Communication Technology
In the early 1800’s communication required the transportation of people or paper. In 1837, Samuel Morse demonstrated a new device called the telegraph, that could send messages by way of an electric current. By the 1860’s telegraphs were in use in every major city. They helped people and businesses communicate more quickly and more efficiently. In 1876 a new invention called the telephone was introduced in Philadelphia. By 1915, telephone wires connected people from coast to coast. Today fiber optics is replacing the use of telephone wires. This allows for the conversion of electronic signals into light waves. People can now communicate at the speed of light. Other forms of telecommunication include the use of satellites, computer networks, and the internet.

9 Respecting Individual Freedoms
The political system of the United States has contributed greatly to economic success of our country. Since the founding of our nation the belief in individual equality, opportunity, and freedom has been central to our way of life. In addition to this too was the belief that individuals acting in their own interest may also serve the interests of others. These ideals are supported by an economic system based on capitalism or free enterprise. This system allows individuals to own, operate, and profit from their own businesses in an open competitive market. One of the notions behind free enterprise is that any hardworking individual, regardless of wealth, cultural background or religion can find opportunity and success in the United States of America. It is this belief that has drawn and continues to draw many immigrants to this country.

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