Chapter 7 Notes

Chapter 7: Regions of
the United States
Section 1: The
Northeast Introduction
• People define regions in order to identify
places that have similar characteristics or
close connections.
– We can define regions by the ways people live,
work, and play in them, or political orientation.
• The government divides the country into four
major regions:
– Northeast
– South
– Midwest
– West
• The government divides the nation into
regions for statistical purposes.
• The government’s definition of these regions
is based on a combination of physical,
economic, cultural and historical factors.
Physical Characteristics of the
• New England region includes six (6) states that
are located in the northeastern part of the
United States.
• Known for its beautiful landscape.
• Beauty result of Geography and climate of the
– Combination of precipitation, soil type and
varieties of trees that thrive in the region give
New England its breathtaking fall colors.
• Northeast has far more to offer than forests.
• New York is considered by many to be the
cultural center of the nation, whereas Boston
and Philadelphia offer visitors a view into the
nation’s history.
Natural Resources of the Northeast
• Apart from the coal rich area of Pennsylvania,
the region lacks mineral resources.
• However, its water has turned the Northeast
into a center of trade, commerce, and industry.
– The regions rocky and jagged shoreline provides
many excellent harbors.
– Throughout the 1700 and 1800s these natural
harbors were used by merchant ships sailing to
and from other regions of the world.
A Leader in Industry
• The Northeast’s many rivers, including the
Connecticut and the Hudson, have been vital
to its history.
• Abundant precipitation (35-50 in. annually)
combined with the hilly terrain, keeps the
rivers of the region flowing swiftly.
• Industrialists harnessed the power of these
rivers by building water wheels (converted
water power into machine power).
• Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New
Hampshire factories were built at waterfalls
along the region’s many rivers.
• Factories produced shoes, cotton cloth, and
other goods.
• Region’s river valleys served as trade routes,
railroad routes, and later as modern highway
routes for the Northeast.
• By early 1900s, the Northeast was the most
productive manufacturing region in the world.
The Megalopolis
• Cities along the Atlantic coast first grew in
importance as harbors of international trade and as
centers of shipbuilding.
• Young people from the Northeastern countryside
flocked to the factory towns to take industrial jobs.
• Europeans were also attracted by the job
opportunities in cities of the Northeast.
• In 1840, about 80,000 Europeans immigrated to the
United States, by 1850 the number jumped to 308k.
– Many came to escape political oppression and economic
– Many people in the Northeast are descendants of these
earlier immigrants who came by sea.
• Over time, coastal cities began to spread and
run together.
• By the 1960s, the area from Boston to
Washington, D.C., had earned a new name:
– Greek roots, meaning “very large city.”
– About 40 million people live in this area. 1/7th of
the entire U.S. population (2005).
• While the east coast megalopolis remains one of
the dominant centers of American business and
industry, it faces serious problems.
– Fear that area might run out of water or waste
disposal facilities.
– Northeast cities declining in population.
• EX. Between 1970 and 2000, 430k people moved out of
– As a result, remaining residents and businesses were hit with
higher taxes.
– City has to rely on other sources of revenue to pay for street
repairs and police protection.
• Northeast remains a vital area.
• Despite the destruction of the World Trade
Center in 2001, New York is still the business
capital of the world, and its population has
grown to more than 8 million people.
Chapter 7, Section 2
The South
Intro to the South
• Many Americans think of the South as the old
• In 1860-1861, eleven states ranging from
Texas to Virginia withdrew from the United
States because of conflicts over economic and
moral issues, including tariffs and, especially,
• These states formed the Confederate States of
• Between 1861-1865, the United States
military forces from the Northeast and
Midwest fought a bloody war with the
Confederacy… The Civil War.
• At the war’s end, slavery was abolished and
the South was drawn back into the Union.
• South is a region rich in resources and culture
that has become an increasingly popular place
in which to live and work.
• South stands out from the rest of the country
because of its humid, subtropical climate and
the lush, mixed forests that are common to
most of its areas.
Linking Climate to Vegetation
• South’s location closer to Equator makes it
warmer than the northern regions.
• Weather systems rising north from the Gulf of
Mexico and Caribbean Sea provide an ample
amount of rain to the region (55-60 inches).
• Warm, wet climate produces thick, mixed
forests of pine and other trees, or marshy
stands of mangrove trees.
– Tropical trees that grow in swampy ground along
coastal areas.
• Other unique regions to the South include Bayous.
– Marshy inlets of lakes and rivers of Louisiana.
• In Florida, the Everglades, a large area of
swampland covered in places with tall grass,
provide a refuge for a wide variety of birds and
Linking Climate, History and Agriculture
• The South’s wide variety of plant and animal life is
due to subtropical climate of most of the region
and rich soils of the wide coastal plains.
• Native American groups, such as the Natchez,
Creek and Cherokee grew maize, melons, squash,
beans tobacco and other crops.
• By the mid 1500s, Europeans also began to settle
in the South. (First permanent European
settlements in the US were located in the South).
• The South’s rich soil and long growing season
attracted Europeans to the region.
• Some built huge plantations and used slaves from
Africa and the West Indies to work on tobacco,
rice and cotton plantations.
• There are people in the South who live in bleak
poverty despite its fertile soil and mild climate.
Linking Resources to Industry
• Traditional image of the South has been of a rural
region, largely dependent on agriculture.
• South has other industries…
– Entrepreneurs built textile mills, on fall lines, powered
by the fast-moving streams of the Piedmont section of
the Carolinas.
• Imaginary line between the Appalachian Mountains and the
Atlantic coastal plain.
• It’s the place where rivers and streams
form waterfalls and rapids as they
descend from plateau to coastal plain.
The Sunbelt
• Looking for jobs, thousands of people moved
• Thanks to its climate, the South has also
grown as a tourism and retirement center.
• Band of southern states from the Carolinas to
southern California became known as the
Southern Population
• The South has grown rapidly.
• During the 70s, the South’s population grew
by about 7 million people.
• By 1990, three of the US’ largest cities were
located in the South (Houston, Dallas and San
• By 1995, Texas was the second most populous
state, next to California.
A Varied Population
• Today, the South has a diverse population.
• Half of the nation’s African American population
lives in the South.
• Hispanics who relocate from Mexico and other Latin
American countries also reside down South.
• San Antonio, Texas is one of the first major cities in
the US to have a Hispanic majority in its population.
• Another large Hispanic group lives in southern
Florida, the Cubans.
• One area of Miami is populated by a Cuban
majority. Called Little Havana.
– Spanish restaurants, Spanish-language television and
radio station reflect Cuban Heritage in this area.
• Many white Southerners have ancestors who came
from England, Scotland or Ireland.
• In Louisiana, many boast of French Ancestry.
– French settled the area in Colonial times and made a
lasting impression on the region’s culture.
– New Orleans is famous for its French cuisine.
Major Cities
• New Orleans is a major trading center near
the mouth of the Mississippi River.
• Miami is the United States gateway to the
Caribbean and South America.
• Houston is a large industrial and trading
center. (NASA is located in here).
• Forth Worth, heart of Texas cattle industry.
• Dallas, business and electronics center.
• City of Washington is located in the District of
Columbia (carved from the states of Maryland and
• Chosen as nation’s capital in 1790, it is located on
the shore of the Potomac River. It was the first
planned city in the nation
The Midwest
•Chapter 7,
Section 3
An Agricultural Economy
• Most of the Midwest is flat with fertile soil.
• Animals that live in the soil die and decay, this is
known as humus.
– Humus combines with weathered bedrock to build
more soil.
• Midwestern climate favors agriculture.
• Winters can be very cold but summers are long
and hot.
• Most places receive at least 20 inches of
precipitation annually.
Regional Variations
• Southern Midwest, (Kansas) growing season is
more than 200 days long.
– The average number of days between the last frost of
spring and the first frost of fall.
• Northern Midwest, (near Canadian border) the
growing season is less than 120 days long.
The Nation’s Breadbasket
• Thanks to favorable conditions, Midwestern
farms are among the most productive in the
– Because of this, the United States is well fed.
– This remarkable productivity also allows the US to
export sizable amounts of its produce to other
• High wheat output has earned the Midwest the
nickname “the nation’s breadbasket.”
The Changing Face of American Farms
• In years past, American farms were mostly
modest family enterprises.
• People worked long days of hard physical labor.
• Few farms like this remain in existence in the US.
• Farming has become big business, involving fewer
people and more machinery.
Farming Technology
• In 1834, Cyrus McCormick patented the
mechanical reaper, which revolutionized farming.
– Reaper allowed farmers to harvest vast amounts of
wheat in much less time than it took by hand.
– As more tasks became mechanized, farmers could
produce more crops than before with fewer workers.
• Number of farms has decreased year after year
because higher-paid jobs have attracted them to
Linking Farms to Cities
• Agriculture dominates the economy, even in
many Midwestern towns and cities.
• Business activities center on dairies or on grain
– Tall buildings equipped with machinery for loading,
cleaning, mixing and storing grain.
• The Mercantile Exchange is the world’s busiest
market for eggs, hogs, cattle and other farm
• The Board of Trade is the largest grain exchange.
– A place where buyers and sellers deal for grain.
Linking Industries to Resources
• Midwest is rich in natural resources.
• Due to this, its cities are home to heavy
• Minnesota leads the region in iron ore
• Indiana and Illinois have sizable coal deposits.
• Easy access to the mentioned minerals spurred
the development of steel.
• All of these together led to Detroit becoming the
automobile capital.
The West
•Chapter 7,
Section 4
• Breathtaking natural landscape is the most
memorable feature of much of the West.
– Rocky Mountains
– Rivers
– Canyons
– Broad Plains
– Massive Glaciers (Alaska)
– Smoking Volcanoes (Hawai’i)
Characteristic that most affects
Available Water
• An abundance or scarcity of water is the major
factor shaping the West’s natural vegetation,
economic activity and population density.
• Most of the West has a semiarid or arid climate.
• San Diego, California - 9 inches of rain per year.
• Reno, Nevada - 7 inches of rain per year.
• Vegetation in this area consists of short grass,
hardy shrubs, sagebrush and cactus.
• In contrast, other areas of West receive adequate
rainfall and contain rich deciduous and coniferous
• Seattle, Washington – 39 inches of rain per year.
Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
• Alaska (49th) and Hawai’i (50th), the nation’s
two remote states, offer another contrast.
• Much of Hawai’i has a wet tropical climate
and dense tropical rain forest vegetation.
• A world apart is northern Alaska’s tundra.
– A dry, treeless plain that sprouts grasses and
mosses only in summer, when the top layer of soil
Natural Resources and the Economy
• West has gold, silver and uranium.
• When gold and silver deposits were uncovered in
the 1800s, folks who sought fortune rushed the
• Few individuals struck gold, the successful ones
were huge mining companies that had equipment
and resources to dig deep into the earth.
• Rumors of great strikes and dreams of wealth kept
drawing people into the region.
• Along with the prospectors, came people who set
up businesses to provide service to the miners.
• The population of the West grew rapidly.
• Western lands also contained valuable deposits of
natural gas and oil (Alaska, 1960).
• Natural resources of West also support two
other important economic activities, forestry
and commercial fishing.
– Half of nation’s lumber is harvested from the
Pacific Northwest forests.
– Billions of tons of fish caught in the waters off
Alaska, Hawaii and other Pacific Coast states bring
in billions of dollars.
The Growth of Western Cities
• West grew thanks to mining, and people moving
West during the Gold Rush.
• Railroad fares were lowered between Midwest
and Los Angeles.
• By the 1920s, the city was attracting new residents
with the development of the military and civil
aircraft industry and the motion picture industry.
– To support its growing population, Los Angeles (LA) has
to obtain huge amounts of water via aqueducts.
• Large pipes that carry water over long distances.
• Brings water 685 miles south from Sacramento.
Conquering Western Distances
• 2 States face challenges due to distances.
– Alaska and Hawai’i
• Alaska
– Largest state (3x larger than Northeast)
– Population = < 630,000
– Juneau (capital) can only be reached by plane or boat.
– Anchorage (250k pop.) only 2 roads leading in and out.
• Hawai’i
– 8 Main islands, 100 small islands in central Pacific.
– Over 2,000 mi. from US Mainland.
– Annexed in 1898, became 50th state in 1959.
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