Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Plains Settlement Notes

Great Plains

Make Problem Web

Geography/Climate

TOPOGRAPHY: Wind/violent storms
Mountainous buffer effect
Precipitation low, concentrated in time

Little surface water
No topographic change to concentrate water (rivulets)
Permeable soil
Deep ground water

Trees
Evolution of grasslands
Wind/precipitation
Grass outcompetes
Biological feedback loop: Dense roots leads to more organic matter leads to dense roots
Adaptation to deep groundwater with deep roots
Soil “UPPENS”: Deep, solid sod
Organic matter decomposing/RUMINANT manure = most fertile soil in world
(vocab: RUMINATE)
Sod
IMPERVIOUS (vocab)
PERMEABLE

Access to market

Solutions to problems (student brainstorm)

Wind/rain INSOLUBLE (vocab); but precipitation mitigated by windmill

Steel windmill: 24 hour pump utilizes wind; stores water for irrigation/livestock
Shippable (Railroad) and affordable (Steel cheap b/c Bessamer process)

Soddies – turf bricks (Corrugated tin roof - shippable) (temporary until crops come in, give cash for shipped lumber). Later: Lumber OR SEARS KIT HOUSE

Bison patties for heat

Planting an orchard/woodlot essential first task

Joseph Glidden’s barb wire – little wood needed for fences.
Psychological barrier
Flat topography/no need for physical strength: Spacing of posts 50 – 100 feet
Wire/few posts shippable
Long term unintended consequence: Barbed wire for warfare

Steel plow
“Busts” the sod
SODBUSTERS

Railroad could solve access to market BUT

Limits o’ capitalism (Tueting is a commie!)

Capitalism works – see quote on wall, recent Obama statement.

Chick/egg conundrum

Capitalism also could not solve railroad issue

Subsidies PLUS Homestead Act

Subsidies: Land grants, direct cash
Solves problem
Corruption

Homestead Act: Political review, economic incentive
Could not be done with South in Congress. Why?
Same with the Morrill Land Grant Act

Other limits of capitalism (connect to today)
America as pharmaceutical powerhouse
Hydrogen fuel cell cars – chicken and egg,
Hard sciences vs. applied sciences (supercollider)
Mitigated by some gov. funding
Liquidity Trap – Keynesian Answer

Cultural differences:
Northwest and Great Plains comparison

Ed = no ed (labor, distance, declining value due to industrialization)

Rough equality == Variable due to variables in plot (access/water)

Gov participation == Control by elite (populism a response, but stopped by isolation)

Community oriented == Isolated, Individual, Atavistic (vocab)

Ecologically sustainable == Sodbuster start erosion cycle; three generations to destroy soil reservoir built up by millions of years. Dust bowl. (Israel/Hohokam comparison)

Family voluntary == Family necessary as economic unit

Debt comes after unity (three generations prior to Civil War borrowing == Starting in debt and always increasing (populism).

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