Theme: Geography — Development of the United States
Many important events in United States history have been influenced by
geography. Geographic factors or conditions include location, size, climate,
natural resources, and physical features. These events in turn have had political,
social, and economic impacts on the development of the United States.
Identify two important events in United States history and for each
• Describe how a geographic factor or condition influenced the event
• Discuss the political, social, and/or economic impacts of this event on the
development of the United States
You may use any important event that was influenced by geographic factors or conditions.
Some suggestions you might wish to consider include the Louisiana Purchase, the
construction of the Erie Canal, migration to California in the late 1840s, the Civil War, the
purchase of Alaska, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the acquisition of the
Philippines, the building of the Panama Canal, the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA), and the construction of the interstate highway system.
You are not limited to these suggestions.
In your essay, be sure to
• Develop all aspects of the task
• Support the theme with relevant facts, examples, and details
• Use a logical and clear plan of organization, including an introduction and a conclusion that
are beyond a restatement of the theme
In developing your answer to Part II, be sure to keep these general definitions in mind:
(a) describe means “to illustrate something in words or tell about it”
(b) discuss means “to make observations about something using facts, reasoning,
and argument; to present in some detail”
Throughout U.S. History geographic factors have contributed to the development of the United States socially, politically, economically, and physically. For example, the Louisiana Purchase and the Spanish-American War. These were two major events that contributed to the development of the United States.
The United States purchased the Louisiana territory from France in April 30th , 1803. This territory covered 800,000 square miles of land. It expanded from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The purpose of this purchase was the belief of Manifest Destiny which was the desire to expand towards the Pacific. During this period of time, Napoleon wanted to sell the Louisiana territory because the money would supply the war against the British. The gain of the Mississippi River and Port of New Orleans allowed the U.S. to have complete control of that trade route. New Orleans contributed to the American economy by producing one third of American finance. The Southern States wanted the incoming territory to become slave states but the Northern states wanted to slow the spread of slavery into new territory. The House of Representatives wanted to maintain an equal balance between slave and free states which resulted in the Missouri Compromise.