418 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2019
    1. e corporation was expected to act in the public interest. How did that all change between then and now?

      being that this is an OER resource, hopefully it is help to make a suggestion here. I think that this sentence, without evidence or more of a narrative, is too sweeping. How do we know that corporations today do not act in the public interest?

    2. Instead, the decision to grant control of one of the region’s major natural resources to a single corporation happened very slowly and under the radar, through a series of legal changes stemming from court decisions and reinterpretations of contract law.

      As organizations became more and more powerful, the public became more and more aware of the need to regulate these business as well.

    3. The BMC’s textile mills employed mostly young women,

      This is a good example of the interlocking aspect of history- it is likely that this opportunity led to increasing amounts of women's empowerment, and rights.

    4. They helped change the way all Americans understood their environment.

      utilizing the environment's resources enriched people, so they began to encourage this practice.

    5. Colonial and early American settlements used a great deal of timber for building and grew a lot of wheat for home use and for sale. So every settlement needed mills.

      The local economy required local transportation and manufacturing.

    6. community resources.

      This also increases the significance of Teddy' Roosevelt's National Parks initiatives, as they were a change from previous thought.

    7. locally

      Originally decided locally.

    8. had legislated a solution to an environmental problem, most early environmental issues were of smaller scale

      I am also wondering if new technological opportunities also increased the potential for an environmental usage contact.

    9. Even so, the tremendous profits taken by Charles River Bridge shareholders during the period of their government-granted monopoly and their ability to push their lawsuit to the highest court signaled the beginning of a change in the way corporations viewed their roles in society and the responsibilities that went with their public charters.  

      And also was a good demonstration of the power that corporations could wield because of their financial positions.

    10. Corporations during the colonial period had been quasi-public organizations given a royal charter to do a particular job

      There are multiple reasons why corporations were organized first- both political, and technologically. Politically, because democracy did not exist, and technologically because communication between large number of stakeholders was very difficult and expensive.

    11. rights, and liability.

      Interesting that the U.S. maintained common law from England as a system.

    12. Common Law is a set of legal principles dating back to the Middle Ages. I

      Similar to case law used today.

    13. changes

      Thesis of chapter- the change in ideas of the purpose of the economy.

  2. Jun 2019
    1. The Ranney Letters: Family Correspondence during the Yankee Migration eBook provided insight as to the social, economic and environmental dynamics pertaining to westward expansion in the 19th century.

      Upon review of these letters, it is interesting to note what is important to the writer and reader of the letters, and the social courtesy each writer took in communicating with his intended reader. Strong family connections and reciprocity were values that were present for these individuals during this time period regardless of the conditions or environment they lived in.

      Upon reading letters from siblings to each other, it is clear to me how important the notion of timely reciprocity was to maintaining family relations between the siblings. Each of the letters usually began with an apology due to too much time passing between responses, there are also regular references to the health of the writer, and the weather in the region, and occasionally, time for some gossip on family friends or other family members. There is even some personal advice given in one of the letters (encouraging the younger brother to find a wife), and the reasons given as to why being to make the brother happy in the evenings when they are not working. What was also remarkable was the strong bonds that existed to maintain a connection even the brothers moved frequently, and how sophisticated the mail must have been to be able to find each letter’s intended recipient in an area so remote.

      The importance of economics and personal finance was also prevalent in the letters. Each letter seemed to contain a selection in which a brother is describing some of his buying, selling, or the prices of crops/commodities on the general market. Certainly, financial success was very important to each of the writers. At times there are requests for money to be transferred from west to east (how money was securely transferred is still a mystery to me), and also expectations of reciprocity (such as paying a brother for the postage fees for mailing a newspaper). During letter 2 on May 19, 1839, it was particularly interesting how Lewis asked brother Henry to help with funds for their father with “fifty or a hundred Dollars” to help get his father until harvest.

      The Ranney Letters provided more insight as to how life for the early U.S. family was experiencing life in the 19th century. While many were moving west, connections to “home” back east were still prevalent with settlers still wanting to remain connected with the latest news from the area, and the health and well being of their family members. Ideas, goods, services, and capitol traveled both west and east as the western frontier continually expanded eastward. While the letters do focus on the economic and labor intensive conditions of westward expansion, they also show a picture of life that was not all about work – there was the importance of health, happiness, family, and even political philosophy that was very important to all citizens, which isn’t much different than today. The family was and still remains to be a central unit of organizing in the U.S., and the Ranney Letters provide an intimate look into the life of one family unit.

    2. Shays’ Rebellion

      A revolution against the new U.S Republic- even if it was under the articles of confederation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shays%27_Rebellion

    3. uncleared tract of forest, and this suspicion is strengthened by the fact George Ranney built a log house rather than moving into an existing structure.

      I am curious why George Ranney bought the 100 acre farm if he did not have an intention to use it?

    4. placing him ninth on the list of 52 town proprietors

      fairly wealthy.

    5. Thomas Ranney became a landowner

      Becoming a land owner was an seen as an important part of becoming a responsible adult, as evidenced by the ability to vote when the U.S. became a republic.

    6. Phelps
    7. Ashfield Massachusetts
    1. The Ranney Letters: Family Correspondence during the Yankee Migration eBook provided insight as to the social, economic and environmental dynamics pertaining to westward expansion in the 19th century. Upon review of these letters, it is interesting to note what is important to the writer and reader of the letters, and the social courtesy each writer took in communicating with his intended reader. Strong family connections and reciprocity were values that were present for these individuals during this time period regardless of the conditions or environment they lived in.

      Upon reading letters from siblings to each other, it is clear to me how important the notion of timely reciprocity was to maintaining family relations between the siblings. Each of the letters usually began with an apology due to too much time passing between responses, there are also regular references to the health of the writer, and the weather in the region, and occasionally, time for some gossip on family friends or other family members. There is even some personal advice given in one of the letters (encouraging the younger brother to find a wife), and the reasons given as to why being to make the brother happy in the evenings when they are not working. What was also remarkable was the strong bonds that existed to maintain a connection even the brothers moved frequently, and how sophisticated the mail must have been to be able to find each letter’s intended recipient in an area so remote.

      The importance of economics and personal finance was also prevalent in the letters. Each letter seemed to contain a selection in which a brother is describing some of his buying, selling, or the prices of crops/commodities on the general market. Certainly, financial success was very important to each of the writers. At times there are requests for money to be transferred from west to east (how money was securely transferred is still a mystery to me), and also expectations of reciprocity (such as paying a brother for the postage fees for mailing a newspaper). During letter 2 on May 19, 1839, it was particularly interesting how Lewis asked brother Henry to help with funds for their father with “fifty or a hundred Dollars” to help get his father until harvest.

      The Ranney Letters provided more insight as to how life for the early U.S. family was experiencing life in the 19th century. While many were moving west, connections to “home” back east were still prevalent with settlers still wanting to remain connected with the latest news from the area, and the health and well being of their family members. Ideas, goods, services, and capitol traveled both west and east as the western frontier continually expanded eastward. While the letters do focus on the economic and labor intensive conditions of westward expansion, they also show a picture of life that was not all about work – there was the importance of health, happiness, family, and even political philosophy that was very important to all citizens, which isn’t much different than today. The family was and still remains to be a central unit of organizing in the U.S., and the Ranney Letters provide an intimate look into the life of one family unit.

    2. Father wishes you to send him fifty or a hundred Dollars if you can as he has had none from Michigan and having some to make out he Requests &c.  Money is very scarce here now probably will be till after harvest.

      Interesting dynamic of asking a younger child for money. I'm surprised that wasn't considered against mores.

    3. Our folks have taken a girl about ten years old which they like very well.

      did they adopt or hire someone to help around the house?

    1. He said that he thought that he

      boom & bust cycle of prospecting.

    2. $13.00

      It is interesting how much commodities and pricing dominates the letters.

    1. But she would not divide the property that way.

      Interesting to read about women becoming more assertive here.

    1. You will please direct all letters & papers, also please inform the offices from which I have papers sent (I have recd the Atlas & Tribune) to direct them to “Tahlequah” C. N. (Cherokee Nation) Arks.  I must draw to a close as I am quite weak yet and not able to write any more at this time

      It would seem that reading the paper was a very important activity- highly desirable as it was referenced in almost every letter.

    1. I am obliged to call on you for the money on that Peppermint Oil that was sent last fall. I have some money to make out in few days or sell property at a low price. 

      How was money sent during these times? - checks?

    1. Loco Party of the North

      who is he referring to? "Loco Party of the North" - does he mean "Local"

    1. Because you are t home at night then and nothing to trouble your mind but someone to cheer up your drooping spirits. 

      It would be interesting to learn more about relationship dynamics at this time. It would seem that 24 would be considered fairly old to get married at this time.

    2. Until settlers reached the treeless prairies of what we now call the Midwest, there were always trees to clear before the wheat could be planted.  So potash was often the first product that could be shipped back to Eastern markets and sold for cash. 

      one of the first products that could be sold outside of the farm.

    1. very low”

      sick with "consumption"- probably an infection.

    2. or said land I paid one hundred and forty eight dollars, a span of horses, one wagon and harness which we calc $280.00 f

      interesting that there was a barter and cash system here.

    3. warrantee deed

      clear ownership of the property.

    1. Chapter 4: Frontier and Grid tell the story of the environmental conditions in American History between the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s promoted westward expansion by settlers from the original colonies. Many of the original colonial settlements were built directly on top of settlements used by the Native Americans who were no longer there due to being decimated by disease. It is presumed these settlements were by the colonists due to their close proximity to natural resources and cleared space available. Conflict with the native tribes was a constant source of conflict. Even under threat of attack, the positives of westward expansion was almost universally supported by the colonists. In explaining a cause of the Revolutionary War, the chapter describes it best that “one of the grievances that led to the American Revolution was colonial anger….limiting westward expansion of the colonies”. This was due to the Cherokee nation fighting in an alliance with the British during the Seven Years War. The restrictions from this Proclamation of 1763 were overturned after the colonists defeated the British.

      Even before the constitution was signed, the Northwest Ordinance was approved to allow westward expansion into the present day north and the midwestern United States. The chapter indicates that the population of the young republic of the United States was growing quickly both due to a high birthrate (higher than in Europe) and a high immigration rate of Germans, Irish, and British fleeing instability and famine. Due to this increase, westward expansion was perceived as necessary to take care of the growing economic and dietary needs of the country. The economy of the U.S. in the early 18th century was still very reliant upon agriculture and it would take about 80 acres at minimum for a farmer to feed his family and produce a little extra to take to market. Because families had multiple children, it required westward expansion to continue this type of lifestyle- usually the oldest males traveled west by purchasing land from the government (at the time the government could not tax so this was a source of revenue), and the youngest son stayed at home to take over the family estate and care for the parents. The Northwest Ordinance provided a solution to this problem by selling land to these prospective farmers at very inexpensive prices (about $1 per acre) who continued to move west.

      Purchasing land from the Northwest Ordinance did carry a risk- land was purchased sight-unseen by the purchaser, and even if the land was not swampy or was unable to grow crops, work to clear the land was required. The chapter estimates that a typical household could clear about eight (8) acres per year. Eventually “after a couple of decades, a successful settler family usually had 20 to 30 acres of improved land” and be able to sell excess surplus goods to market to make a profit. This type of farmer became an archetype in U.S. culture as a “self-made” man who can also provide for his regular needs. Of course, the celebration of this achievement did not always fully expose the trials that came as a result of settling the land.

      Another topic that because contentious as a result of settled land was slavery. The Northwest Ordinance restricted slavery from the new territories in the Northwest Ordinance, thus changing the economy/production of those areas. Without slaves, large tracts of land could not be managed by one estate. This created different economic conditions between the north and south states. As new territories became states, the question of slavery continued until the Civil War.

      As the United States furthered its expansion westward, it did so on without the consent of the American Indians. The notion of expanding westward was romanticized with the idea of Manifest Destiny which caused settlers to believe they were doing sacred work by expanding civilization and democracy westward. The combination of a high birthrate, large numbers of immigrants, and land that was taken from the American Indians through warfare, treaty, or just claimed, changed the course of history for all parties involved. Ideas such as the romanticizing of being a self-sustaining producer, or a “self-made man” continue to perpetuate the American psyche, even if the U.S is not a majority agrarian society as it was during this time period.

    2. commerce of the eastern cities.

      Economic opportunity was a large influencer causing all to move West.

    3. Midwestern farmer in corn or wheat production, they could easily out-compete him on milk and hay

      Free markets allowing different types of competition between farmers.

    4. Country Life
    5. Europeans grew only a few varieties bred from a small batch of imported seed potatoes.

      No diversification of crops, unlike the Native Americans.

    6. Continuing wars in Europe and the social upheavals of the industrial revolution strengthened a flow of immigration that continued throughout the nineteenth century.

      It is important to note that the westward expansion and growth of American population wasn't just due to a high birthrate, it was due to a large influx of immigration from Europe, fleeing famines and wars.

    7. Manifest Destiny, that America had a special mission to spread the virtues of democracy across the continent, was the public expression of the idea that the American character was unique and superior.

      I think it was justn't democracy- it was this combination of Christianity and the Enlightenment thinking. It really was to spread Western Civilization westward.

    8. Many argue that the stresses of frontier life may have helped produce the individualism and focus on nuclear families considered such a distinctive part of the American character.

      and the idea of being a "self made man" being such an aspired idea.

    9. eastern markets. The first phases of expansion had allowed farmers to use waterways like the Hudson River in New York and the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers in the Middle West, to float their surpluses to markets like New York City, St. Louis, and New Orleans

      Importance of waterways to transport raw materials/goods to market and for the Erie canal.

    10. Cincinnati, Frankfort, and Nashville were becoming centers of commerce, as was Buffalo New York on the shore of Lake Erie. S

      Becoming centers of commerce due to their locations.

    11. But ironically, it had also reopened the conflict over slavery in the territories.

      It opened conflict because if the Northwest Ordinance banned slave ownership, the Louisiana Compromise created the question of what to do with it in the south.

    12. Ordinance because it prevented the spread of large plantations based on slave labor and encouraged the style of small-scale land ownership and family farming we now associate with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of the independent yeoman farmer.

      An example of how a law can have a significant effect on culture and the environment. Without slavery, large scale farming was impossible.

    13. rohibited slavery in the territories.

      A precursor decision that continued to be with the US until the Civil War ended.

    14. Pioneer life was very hard work. In addition to clearing land, pasturing animals, and raising crops, settlers had to cut and split from thirty to forty cords of firewood per year for heating and cooking. Women spent much of their time cooking, which is a slow and tiring process when you do it over an open fire in a one-room cabin. In their spare time pioneer women raised their five children and wove cloth to make the family’s clothing.   

      How strong the national sentiment to be a "self made" individual must have been to take on this hard work.

    15. sight unseen

      This must have been a risk- land may not have all been very productive.

    16. 80 acres, which most people in the early nineteenth century considered the smallest size for a successful farm

      80 acres was the smallest farm lot needed to raise a family.

    17. ith half the nation’s population under age sixteen, free public education was considered a key to American progress, so public schools were built into one of the United States’ earliest national laws.

      Demographics influenced the creation of free public schooling.

    18. Articles of Confederation, Congress was not allowed to levy taxes, land sales were considered an appropriate way to raise funds to run the government. The result was The Northwest Ordinance, which created the Northwest Territory and specified the way western lands would be surveyed, parceled, and sold.

      Northwest Ordinance was devised as a revenue generating scheme, because the CC could not tax.

    19. he obvious solution was to pass the farm to one son,

      The youngest most often as the trade was that he would take care of the estate and the parents. This also made westward expansion a necessity and an issue of politics- meaning it would be a desire of landowners (who could vote) and thus an interest of the politicians.

    20. When the United States took its first national census in 1790, Americans discovered that half their population was under the age of 16.

      A young and expanding country. I am curious what made the birthrate higher? I would think it was a less dense population, which made disease transition more difficult and less infant mortality.

    21. At the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Britain relinquished its claim to all the territory east of the Mississippi to the United States

      This was an aspect of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 that I did not pay attention to- it ceded lands which were not owned by the British to the colonists..

    22. against King George III was that he had unleashed “merciless Indian savages” against the colonist

      Yet it was their westward expansion that was creating the conflict.

    23. The Proclamation Line followed the Appalachian Mountains, cutting through western New York and Pennsylvania and creating an Indian Reserve stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

      Proclamation of 1763

    24. The continent was large and the population density of native cultures was often much lower than that of the Euro-American settlements.

      And more sustainable in that their consumption of resources did not outstrip the productivity of the land.

    25. we noticed that many early English coastal settlements had been established on sites previously used by native Americans, who had disappeared due to disease or the social chaos caused by epidemics

      The same building locations were used due to the terrain, access to freshwater, flat I am assuming.

  3. bemidjistate.learn.minnstate.edu bemidjistate.learn.minnstate.edu
    1. There is a central question about the environment that is asked in the text excerpts from The View from Walden-when considering the European colonization of North America had paradise been lost or was paradise gained? Did the influx of European colonists in the 18th century destroy the environment in its natural state, or help shape it into a better more productive version? The answer is “neither”. The environment is not separate from mankind and has always been shaped by mankind. The effects of its condition and how it influences its inhabitants requires more investigation.

      The reading begins by quoting Thoreau’s viewpoint. Thoreau’s perspective was that the original, perfect state of the environment had been corrupted by the English settlers- that the “park-like atmosphere” due to burning techniques by the American Indians had almost vanished, and numerous “noble creatures” such as “bear, moose, deer” (page 4) were in short supply. According to Thoreau, nature’s perfect steady state that had existed relatively unchanged for thousands of years was in decline, and the colonists were responsible.

      While there was no debate as to whether the environment was changing in the 17th century, there was not a consensus as to whether that was a bad thing. Page 5 states, “the transformation of wilderness betokened the planting of a garden, and not the fall from one; any change in the New England environment was divinely ordained and wholly positive”. This perspective viewed mankind in a positive light as “civilizing the wilderness” by improving it to make it more productive.

      Because of these divergent views about the state of the environment, it is more difficult to determine what the actual characteristics of the environmental landscape were. To better determine the environmental condition, alternative methods of inquiry are needed. Deeds and surveyor records were reviewed, ecological information such as tree rings, carbon dating, and archaeological evidence was collected, and personal journal entries were reviewed among other sources. It is important to note as well that “not all environmental changes which took place after European settlement was caused by it” (page 9)- as the environment is always going through natural cycles that cannot always be attributed to European settlement.”

      The View from Walden summarizes for the reader on page 12 that the dichotomy of whether the European intrusion into North America was positive or negative for the environment is a false choice – “The choice is not between two landscapes, one with and one without human influence, it is between two ways of living, two ways of belonging to an ecosystem”. Human beings have always been entangled with nature, and for the foreseeable future, will continue to be entangled. The ways in which humanity was entangled with the environment are drastically different when comparing the American Indian and European methods and philosophy for land use. While the European method has created greater wealth and economic, political, and military power in the short run (400-500 years), it is unclear if it is sustainable. Some of the same sustainability concerns that were present in the 1700s are still of concern today. The roots of humanity’s angst about its relationship with the environment are not a recent phenomenon due to urbanization-- they were present at the beginning of the colonization movement. Many of the concerns and perspectives on the environment today were present 300 years ago and not just in the twenty-first century.

    2. the people of plenty were a people of waste

      main idea is that our current relationship with the environment had roots in the the colonist philosophies of land management and profit.

    3. he implications of this second ecological contradiction stretched well beyond the colonial period. Although w

      colonists farming techniques are not sustainable, and leads to something we struggle with today.

    4. and in New England became for the colonists a form of capital, a thing consumed for the express purpose 'of creating augmented wealth.

      hence the need to keep expanding and pushing Indians westward.

    5. The result was an economy which used natural resources in a way which often appeared to European visitors as terribly waste-ful. "In a word," wrote the Swedish traveler Peter Kalm of American farming practices, "the grain fields, the meadows, the forests, the cattle, etc. are treated with equal carelessness." A number of Americans agreed. In 1787, the physician Joseph War-ren wrote a critique of American agriculture in which he argued:

      European economy was wasteful of natural resources due to scarcity of materials in foreign markets.

    6. Perhaps their most important attach-' ment to the market was not even related to immediate production -their expectation that the size of that margin would increase, and with it the value of their land

      in percapita production, Europeans were not much more effective than American Indians. The difference is how they saw the resources and the purposes of production-to grow and sell in markets.

    7. what they saw as resources and how they thought those resources should be utilized. Indians had a far greater knowledge of what could be eaten or otherwise made useful in the New England environment; their economy defined a correspondingly greater range of resources. But most of those resources were simply used or consumed by the household which acquired them, or, if ex-changed, were traded for similar items. Very few resources were accumulated for the explicit purpose of indicating a person's status in the community: wampum, furs, certain minerals, and ornaments of the hunt generally served these purposes. Class authority was maintained more by kin networks and personal alliances than by stores of wealth, and the latter were in any event limited by the community's commitment to geographical mobility.

      American Indians used resources like the Europeans, but the purpose of their use was more local and egalitarian.

    8. y ceasing to live as their ancestors had done, they did not cease to be Indians, but became Indians with very different relationships to the ecosystems in which they lived. Only in this limited-but ecologically crucial

      Indians had to adapt to the changing environmental conditions as they always did.

    9. together, the two impelled colo-nial movement onto new lands.

      owning animals and capitalism led to new ventures to make a profit/consume resources.

    10. s we have seen, domesticated animals exercised a profound influence on New England land-scapes, and represented a dramatic contrast between the ways Europeans and Indians went about obtaining their livelihoods.

      owning animals vs managing the land to make hunting conditions favorable

    11. Capitalism and environmental degrada-

      Doesn't seem too much different than today. Can capitalism every be separated from ecological damage?

    12. ltimately, English property systems encouraged colonists to regard the products of the land--not to mention the land itself-as commodities,

      Fundamental belief about the environment differed from the American Indians.

    13. Nevertheless, they

      These three paragraphs indicate that the environment was in decline.

    14. By 1800, the Indians who had been its first human inhabitants were reduced to a small fraction of their former numbers, and had been forced onto less and less desirable agricultural lands.

      Due to a variety of diseases that American Indians had not had to adapt to because they did not keep livestock.

    15. Human and natu-ral worlds are too entangled for us, and our historical landscape does not allow us to guess what the "entire poem" of which he

      Humanity cannot exist outside of its environment in this analysis.

    16. The choice is not between two landscapes, one with and one without a human influence; it is between two human ways of living, two ways of belonging to an ecosystem.

      exactly. Not a false question of human civilization or pristine wilderness, but two different behaviors in relationship to the environment.

    17. golden age

      still an issue today--to much mythos to get back to a "golden age" that never existed.

    18. Now individual species could simply be described in terms of their associations with other species along a continuous range of environments; there was no longer any need to resort to functional analysis in describ-ing such associations.

      definition of ecosystem

    19. teleological

      relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.

    20. The first generation of aca-demic ecologists, led by Frederic Clements, defined the com-munities they studied literally as superorganisms which ex-perienced birth, growth, maturity, and sometimes death much as individual plants and.animals did.

      Seems like the central question is- are humans part of nature and thus part of the organism or separate from it?

    21. ot all the environmental changes which took place after European settlement were caused by it

      Some may have been climate cycles, other natural disasters/changes, etc.

    22. More confusing still could be the natural tendency for colonists to apply European names to American species which only su-perficially resembled their counterparts across the ocean.

      Difficult to determine variety with inconsistent labels/definitions.

    23. Finally, there are those awkward situations in which an ecolog-ical change which undoubtedly must have been occurring in the colonial period has left little or no historical evidence

      Without cataloged measurements, it would be impossible to determine this.

    24. Deeds and surveyor records can be used statistically to estimate the composition of early forests, and are usually more accurate than travelers' accounts even though subject to sampling errors.5

      Putting all of this information is equally challenging, if some information does not align with other documents.

    25. modern ecosystems can be of great help in doing

      And a limited amount of knowledge of the history of the environment in these locations.

    26. Whether interpreted as declension or progress, the shift from Thoreau's forest of "nobler animals" to Rush's fields and pastures of prosperous farmers signaled a genuinely transformed country-side, one whose changes were intimately bound to the human history which had taken place in its midst.

      Two competing ideas- were we losing something special, or gaining civilization?

    27. Enlightenment thinkers

      It seems that this hypothesis has more in common with humanism - the pinnacle of mankind's achievement than strictly the enlightenment, which was about applying the scientific method to everything.

    28. species

      species of settlers? A misunderstanding of race and what it means to be a human being led to an incorrect hypothesis.

    29. civilizing the wilderness.

      civilizing is an adapt term here.

    30. In this vision, the transformation of wilderness betokened the planting of a garden, not the fall from one; any change in the New England environment was divinely ordained and wholly pQsitiv

      Not an unfamiliar debate to today. Is progress good or bad?

    31. spiritual

      The spiritual question was that of a loss, but in reality, the environment had been in constant change.

    32. nobler animals

      What makes up a "nobler animal"?

    33. "bear, moose, deer, porcupines, 'the grim-fac'd Ounce, and rav'nous howling Wolf,' and beaver. Martens."

      Due to a loss of habitat from American Indian Land Management

    34. without the underbrush and coppice growth

      Due to American Indian practices of burning the underbrush to promote better hunting habitat.

    1. Chapter 3, Colonial America continues the story of mankind’s evolution in relation to its environment. The story of mankind in America began with the Native Americans making the North and South American continents their home and was followed by a few exchanges from Europe. After explorers reported back their findings to their countries (often exaggerating their discoveries), the next wave of colonists began arriving in hopes of finding their riches.

      The first colonists in the American hemisphere were not English but settlers from Spain and Portugal. Prior to the Spanish Armada being defeated by English navy in 1588, the Spanish and Portuguese had military control over the Atlantic Ocean which provided them an advantage to be first to make an attempt to colonize the Americas. Portuguese and Spanish explorers- Cortez, Pizzaro, and Vespucci lead expeditions and established settlements in Central and South America due to epidemics of smallpox, cholera, and diphtheria, decimating the populations of the local tribes. The explorers attributed these events to God supporting their cause in which they believed they had a divine mandate to settle the Americas. Both Spain and Portugal were Catholic countries, and under authority of the Pope who gave them direction to split their territorial claims at 47.37 West Longitude. After the reformation began, English and Northern Scandinavian countries also began making expeditions to the Americas.

      Roanoke Island was the first English colony settled in 1588. After the failed Roanoke Island colony, the Virginia Company established Jamestown. Jamestown’s original building site was occupied by tribes so the settlers chose another swampy location that was unoccupied. As a result of the poor environmental conditions in the surrounding area (it was swampy), and a lack of planning, about 75% of the colonists died in the first nine months. Conditions were difficult for the colonists, as their European practices at land management did not allow them to adapt to the American environment. Eventually the colonies were sustainable through hard work and using some of the Native farming techniques, and other colonies were established as well. As colonies increased in size, so did potential conflict with the Native Americans.

      From the perspective of the Native Americans land ownership was a very fluid concept. Native Americans utilized land but did not see it possible to own it. In addition, anything the land supported (such as livestock) was open season for hunting. Since they did not have the concept of land ownership, both groups did not have the same concept of the value about mediums of exchange. Instead, when items were traded for the land, Indians viewed the trade goods as a gift of goodwill and friendship, instead of payment for their property. Because of these different perspectives, war was inevitable.

      As a result of the Native American populations continuing to decline due to epidemics and wars, historians estimate that the environmental landscape during the 18th century changed significantly. American Indians managed the forests and created environments with large amounts of good habitat for their hunting prey. The preferred method to manage their environment was through burning the underbrush to clear the land. This practice eventually favored Pine trees to become more common in North America. It is suggested that when large numbers of the American Indian population died, the climate changed significantly as the forests began to grow into the open spaces increasing the absorption of carbon dioxide-perhaps creating a mini ice age. As the amount of great habitat decreased, so did the number of wild game.

      As a result of the colonists coming to the Americas, the environment changed. These colonists struggled, sometimes starved and died, worked with American Indian tribes, and slowly began to thrive, but their presence continued to decimate the American Indian populations. These events impacted the North American environment in significant ways.

    2. he North American landscapes that became English colonies had been carefully managed for centuries by the Indians living on them. The disappearance of the Indians and establishment of the colonies rearranged these landscapes in the image of the old world. Traditions and practices that had sustained native populations for thousands of years were lost when disease and war destroyed Indian cultures

      The virgin soil epidemics of the Columbian exchange changed the course of history.

    3. Southern planters began to rely on enslaved Africans, who were already being used on West Indies sugar plantations, to do the work. It is important to remember that the use of slave labor on tobacco, sugar, and later on cotton plantations was not an inevitable requirement of the commodity being grown, but an economic decision planters made based on their desire to produce large quantities at low costs for commercial markets.

      First, it was indentured servants, then, because there were no Natives around, Africans were enslaved.

    4. European interest in the Americas was always commercial.

      European governmental interest=commercial. Religious groups=freedom of religion.

    5. Although many individual settlers probably tried to deal fairly with their Indian neighbors, the difference between European and native ideas of ownership and the rapid growth of the colonies made conflict virtually inevitable.

      This is a reasonable viewpoint of a clash of civilizations- not all individuals wanted to cheat the natives.

    6. Later, as the balance of power became less equal and shifted to favor Euro-Americans, the language of land contracts changed to reflect European ideas of ownership.

      And the previously created agreements were not enforced.

    7. from expanding had exploded when there were no longer Indians managing the land, until the birds lived in flocks of several million.

      Passenger pigeon thrives due to changes in land management due to the dying-off of Native populations. Perhaps due to the environment the colonists were creating as well?

    8. American forests removed so much carbon from the atmosphere that scientists now believe the elimination of Indian populations caused by the Columbian Exchange may have helped trigger a period of global cooling.

      Source? While I am sure that a reduction in CO2 occurred, it seems too sudden to be responsible for a change in climate of a few degrees to trigger global cooling.

    9. he hunters’ paradise Europeans wrote so frequently about in promotional tracts to lure investors and settlers to the new world was neither a providential accident nor a natural feature of the land.

      Managed the land. Instead of owning animals, Natives made habitats that would cause them to flourish to increase their hunting yields.

    10. So women gardened while men hunted and fished.

      Each sex had its role to ensure survival and food production due to no livestock.

    11. three sisters. 

      farming without chemicals to bolster production.

    12. ied himself with the Pilgrims and helped them survive their first winter partly because he had nowhere else to go.

      This seems consistent with the time- likely due to large numbers of Natives impacted by disease.

    13. the good

      I might add a few words to provide more approximation to what this is trying to say to the reader to ensure the reader isn't interpreting this to think the author actually believes Squanto was a "good Indian".

    14. This emptying of the land was seen by English settlers as a gift of divine providence.

      Seeing only the emptiness of the land and not the vast amount of suffering on the part of the Natives.

    15. English settlers sometimes brought back to America plants and animals they didn’t realize were actually from the Americas. For example, when Scotch-Irish farmers were recruited to settle the New England frontier, they brought with them the seed potatoes (originally an Andean staple crop) that became a commercial crop in Maine.

      Full-circle travel of native crops from America to Europe and back.

    16. eorge’s Bank and the Grand Banks

      From wikipedia "Georges Bank is a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. It separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean. The origin of its name is obscure."

    17. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles,

      What might have been the motivation of Captain John Smith to exaggerate the conditions? Possibly to raise capital or volunteers to bolster the colony?

    18. palisade

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palisade - Palisade walls were likely here trees stuck into the ground standing upright.

    19. but it is also possible that the abandoned colonists went to live with the natives when their food ran out and help failed to arrive from England.

      although there is little evidence, this is the most plausible explanation for the disappearance. Perhaps the settlers abandoned their colony and moved, and eventually joined the natives.

    20. 47.37 west longitude

      I reviewed a world map at https://www.mapsofindia.com/worldmap/latitude-longitude.html to gain some perspective. upon review of this location, it is clear to see why the Portugese colonized Brazil, and the Spanish went further west. It is also interesting that had the Pope had a clear understanding of geography, it would be clear to all parties how much better of a deal Spain received.

    21. Although the conquistadors didn’t understand the causes of the epidemics that decimated native populations, they had a strong belief in their own prowess and in their divine mandate.

      An example that the 19th century concept of Manifest Destiny was not a new concept. Through a combination of cultural beliefs of superiority, and a desire to expand Christendom, these people believed that God was on their side.

    22. Iberians

      There is a history of the Iberian people that I was not familiar with - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberians. The simplest definition that the text infers is those people who live in the areas of Spain and Portugal, but have a history that goes back to the times of the Roman Republic.

  4. www.theatlantic.com www.theatlantic.com
    1. 1491 was written by Charles C. Mann and appeared in the March 2002 issue of the Atlantic. It provides an alternative historical view point that the Western Hemisphere was not empty, wild, or savage, but rather an environment that the humans living their utilized to meet their needs. By providing a review of scholarly literature, Mann provides a convincing argument that “the Western Hemisphere was more populous and sophisticated than has been thought”.

      The article begins describing a trip Mann took to Bolivia in a province known as the “Beni”. The Beni is currently a sparsely populated location that has some very unique landmarks of connected berms and elevated flat ground that would be very effective to protect a civilization against flooding. There is debate as to whether “30,000 square miles of forest mounds surround by raised fields” were naturally occurring, or man-made. Depending how that question is answered leads to very significant discoveries and acknowledgements about the past inhabitants. Mann then posits the main idea of the article that American Indians were much more populous and that life was much more advanced prior to 1492 than is given credit by historians.

      Mann catalogs the differences of opinion between historians – those who interpret the evidence in a manner that is more traditional- that there were smaller numbers of American Indians living in the Western Hemisphere, and those who infer from the evidence that there were as many American Indians living in the Western Hemisphere in the 1400s as in Europe. Mann claims that not only were there large groups of American Indians, but “they were so successful at imposing their will on the landscape that in 1492 Columbus set foot in a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by mankind.” Mann’s theory, if true changes the historical narrative significantly. Colonists were not settling an empty wilderness, they could be considered invaders moving into another country. Mann also posits a significant theme of environmental history- that humans and the environment have always been intertwined—there is not getting back to a time when the wilderness was wild and free, because nature had always been used for the purposes of mankind’s survival.

      Population estimates vary, but a moderate estimate is that 150 million people were living in the Western Hemisphere during the time of Columbus.. Mann describes how such a large percent of the population was decimated by disease due to the virgin soil epidemics that Europeans unknowingly unleashed on the non-immune native populations. Epidemic explains why early explorers provided narratives about thriving populous cities, and then why later records reported areas empty and unpopulated. Mass extinction due to illness also explains why conquistadors like “Francisco Pizarro was able to seize an empire the size of Spain and Italy combined with a force of 168 men.” Europe’s advantage was not in military force, economic strength, or technological superiority, but due to the fact that it had developed immunity to several of the diseases transmitted from animals to humans due to its history of domesticating animals. Implications for such a large population decline change the predominant narrative of Western civilization but also a larger question raised by Elizabeth Fenn: “the consequential finding is not that many people died, but that many people once lived”. These Americans would have had to develop substantial culture, trading, and economic relationships with each other, and would have shaped the land to suit their needs.

      The article concludes with an environmental historical perspective- that indigenous Americans were a “keystone species”- one which “affects the survival and abundance of many other species”. Like any other civilization, the Early Americans were no different; they shaped their environment to suit their needs- they need to get credit for it and the myth that colonists landed in unsettled nature in its perfect state, needs to be deconstructed.

    2. ative Americans managed the continent as they saw fit. Modern nations must do the same. If they want to return as much of the landscape as possible to its 1491 state, they will have to find it within themselves to create the world's largest garden.

      A great ending with an example of how environmental History can impact public policy and political agendas

    3. A keystone species, according to the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, is a species "that affects the survival and abundance of many other species."

      American Indians were a keystone species that had significant environmental impacts when they were reduced in number..

    4. ondestructively by clever people who knew tricks we have yet to learn.

      Interesting that if true, another civilization did 2000 or more years ago what we cannot yet.

    5. Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time.

      Theory of how Amazonians improved the soil. Couldn't it also be possible that they lived in a region with this kind of soil?

    6. 12 percent of the nonflooded

      12 percent of rainforest built by humans?

    7. Marajó, she argued, was "one of the outstanding indigenous cultural achievements of the New World," a powerhouse that lasted for more than a thousand years, had "possibly well over 100,000" inhabitants, and covered thousands of square miles. Rather than damaging the forest, Marajó's "earth construction" and "large, dense populations" had improved it: the most luxuriant and

      Roosevelt's theory was that native tribes improved the forest through their work in it. One way was by planting orchards.

    8. ndeed, some anthropologists have called the Amazon forest itself a cultural artifact—that is, an artificial object.

      I am skeptical of this, but will look for the proof below.

    9. Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison.

      drew in game instead of domesticating them. The American Indians didn't live off the land, they shaped the land.

    10. but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire,

      One of the reasons that the Indigenous people were successful farmers is that they "reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes". (fire)

    11. If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants leaving?

      This is a great questions without a good answer from the missionary.

    12. fallacy disparaged as "presentism

      presentism is difficult to not do when looking at history, but it also keeps us from understanding as well and being objective.

    13. e western hemisphere was larger, richer, and more populous than Europe." Much of it was freer, too. Europeans, accustomed to the serfdom that thrived from Naples to th

      America was larger in population, had better standard of living, and more human rights, but not more immune.

    14. The maize-fed population boom, Crosby believes, let the awful trade continue without pumping the well dry.

      depressing how the need for a labor supply to conduct farming in the Americas and the increase in food production led to increased slave trade; American Indians couldn't do it because their population was decimated.

    15. Indian crops dramatically reduced hunger, Crosby says, which led to an Old World population boom.

      Perhaps increased food quantities also led to rising standards of living and an industrial revolution in Europe?

    16. Worldwide, more than half the crops grown today were initially developed in the Americas.

      Individuals in the Americas were very farmers and contributed so much to today's food supply.

    17. Native Americans, who had crossed to Alaska before Sumeria, missed out on the bounty

      American Indians missed out on technological progress from the Neolithic Revolution.

    18. feeble barbarians, destitute of commerce and of political connection."

      racism clouded his opinions of American Indians.

    19. Fenn says, the consequential finding is not that many people died but that many people once lived.

      This is an excellent point. While there is a narrative about loss, there also must be one about life. What kind of lives did they lead before the Europeans came? What were their customs prior to having their populations ravaged?

    20. In 1966 Dobyns's insistence on the role of disease was a shock to his colleagues.

      Dobyn's theory was unprecedented and changed opinions of re-contact.

    21. Europeans were well versed in the brutal logic of quarantine.

      European history with disease meant they had some more knowledge/skills to combat it.

    22. ould a few pigs truly wreak this much destruction? Such apocalyptic scenarios invite skepticism. As a rule, viruses, microbes, and parasites are rarely lethal on so wide a scale

      Skeptics of this large a percentage of death indicate that this is not as high as past plagues.

    23. After Soto left, no Europeans visited this part of the Mississippi Valley for more than a century. Early in 1682 whites appeared again, this time Frenchmen in canoes. One of them was Réné-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. The French passed through the area where Soto had found cities cheek by jowl. It was deserted—La Salle didn't see an Indian village for 200 miles.

      Evidence presented as to how Hudson reconstructed the large population die-off- when DeSoto arrived, there were large cities, 100 years when Cavelier arrived, there was nothing.

    24. But the worst thing the Spaniards did, some researchers say, was entirely without malice—bring the pigs.

      Most of the diseases that mankind struggled with were obtained from animals.

    25. Dobyns estimated that in the first 130 years of contact about 95 percent of the people in the Americas died—the worst demographic calamity in recorded history.

      95% fatality rate (if true) due to virgin soil epidemic.

    26. One of George Washington's most brilliant moves was to inoculate the army against smallpox during the Valley Forge winter of '78." Without inoculation smallpox could easily have given the United States back to the British.

      https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/smallpox/ provides information about George Washington's strategy ensuring that those with small pox were quarantined. He suffered from the virus at 19.

    27. Another way of saying this is that in 1491 more people lived in the Americas than in Europe.

      wow. If true, this would signal one of the largest extinction events in recorded history.

    28. Smallpox was only the first epidemic. Typhus (probably) in 1546, influenza and smallpox together in 1558, smallpox again in 1589, diphtheria in 1614, measles in 1618—all ravaged the remains of Incan culture.

      Multiple epidemics- virgin soil diseases. I appreciate this addition, as I had always just assumed small pox.

    29. Dobyns's estimate proved to be one of the opening rounds in today's culture wars

      It will be interesting to see how this estimate had a role to play in today's culture wars.

    30. 1.15

      I wish the author shared how Mooney arrived at that number.

    31. "Debated since Columbus attempted a partial census on Hispaniola in 1496," William Denevan has written, this "remains one of the great inquiries of history.

      Interesting point that the number of American Indians living in the Americas has been a topic of debate.

    32. 90 percent of the people in coastal New England. It made a huge difference to American history. "The good hand of God favored our beginnings," Bradford mused, by "sweeping away great multitudes of the natives ... that he might make room for us."

      At risk of engaging in presentism, this statement by Bradford was such an arrogant statement- luck may have favored the colonists, not god.

    33. To the Pilgrims' astonishment, one of the corpses they exhumed on Cape Cod had blond hair.

      recurring theme- individuals who were first to the Americas were not actually first. This was also referenced in chapter 1 of the OER Text Environmental History with the Vikings preceding Columbus.

    34. Yet if the new view is correct and the work of humankind was pervasive, where does that leave efforts to restore nature?

      If humanity has always been completely entangled with its environment, there is no getting back to a restorative time, which is a key philosophical view point for environmentalists, still, it does not undermine the movement, there is still a need to live sustainably and in harmony with nature.

    35. One way to summarize the views of people like Erickson and Balée would be to say that in their opinion this picture of Indian life is wrong in almost every aspect. Indians were here far longer than previously thought, these researchers believe, and in much greater numbers. And they were so successful at imposing their will on the landscape that in 1492 Columbus set foot in a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by humankind.

      Central idea of the chapter. Indigenous people were technologically and culturally advanced.

    36. salubrious

      salubrious = healthy.

  5. mlpp.pressbooks.pub mlpp.pressbooks.pub
    1. Chapter 1 of the text described how Eurasian peoples who were descendants of Africans, expanded and spread throughout the world influenced by environmental climate cycles and natural resources. Chapter 2 is about these groups who are now culturally and genetically distinctive after twelve thousand years of separation coming back into contact with each other and some of the disastrous results as a result. Columbas’s fleet was not the first contact between Europeans and Native Americans; it is likely that the Vikings were. The Vikings established colonies and interacted with some of the indigenous tribes of Canida as early as 1000 CE, almost 2500 years before Columbus. However, these Viking colonies did not last. It is likely the environment was a key factor in their failure. Beginning the 14th century, there was a mini ice age which occurred and lasted for four hundred years. It appears that increased cold temperatures made resupply of these colonies impossible, and it is also likely that food production was negatively impacted

      When Columbas was approved by the Spanish crown to sail, Europe was thriving economically and its population was growing due to the large expansion and productivity of fishing. The text estimates that the global population was approximately 500 million “evenly split between Europe, Africa, and the Americas” While Columbus did not discover an empty continent, in a few hundred years, the virgin soil epidemics would make that a reality in some regions of the Americas.

      It was the environment that forced Columbus to dock (permanently) with America when the Santa Maria “ran aground” on Christmas Day December 25th in 1492. After meeting with the local tribe, Columbus returned with two ships and some natural resources, including gold, wildlife, and crops, and wrote “Letter on the First Voyage” exaggerating some of his findings so as to receive approval to make another trip. In addition, Columbus transported native plants and animals of Central America back to Europe.

      As travel to the Americas increased, Europeans brought over many plants and animals that affected the American environment. New crops and livestock were introduced, and horses were also brought over which greatly changed the culture of the Great Plains Indians. As previously stated, Europeans also brought over very significant trait: their germs. It is likely that up to 90% of the American Indian population in 250 years died as a result of these germs. The reason that the conquistadors were successful in conquering some of the American Indian Civilizations was that the disease had already decimated their civilizations and societies and prevented the indigenous populations from effectively fighting back. Europeans owed much of their inherited immunity from these viruses to their contact with their livestock, which was not present in the Native American tribes. Some large native cities experienced such large population die-offs, that new European cities were built right on top of the old ones (Mexico City) because very few inhabitants were left

      Chapter 2 provides more information about how the environment altered the course of history for indigenous Americans and the European explorers. It is clear that with every significant historical event or trend, the environment had a causal role- impacting the decisions and ultimately histories of those involved.

    2. a slide toward worldwide biological homogeneity,”

      another product of globalism. However, is biological homogeneity a bad thing?

    3. Peruvian cinchona tree, was effective treating malaria and helped open the tropics to European colonization.

      Through luck of immunity, it seems as though the Europeans only gained from their visits to Americas and the native american inhabitants lost. Quinine was another example of this.

    4. e-contact between two isolated descendant groups of the Eurasian plains hunters

      This is the most fascinating part of this chapter- these groups were the same at one point, separated, and re-connected in a devastating way.

    5. aused confusion and dismay.

      The conquistadors were successful not because of their military or technological might, but because of their immunity.

    6. Three out of four people in the Aztec world disappeared in 20 years. Imagine writing a list of all the people you know, and then randomly crossing off three out of every four names.

      probably an imperfect analogy as the disease was not random.

    7. African slaves became crucial to the survival of the West Indies economy.

      an unintended consequence of a virgin soil epidemic- expansion of slavery.

    8. 90% of the native American population.

      This is why the United States west was described as "empty", because viruses had decimated the native inhabitants.

    9. re-contact the Columbian exchange.

      re-contact is the best way to describe this as two groups of people who originally came from the same place reconnected.

    10. would transform Plains Indian culture were escapees from the herds of the conquistadors.

      What is interesting about the growth of horse culture was how quickly the numbers of horses increased in America from the 1500s.

    11. Europeans realized not only that American food crops could be brought back to Europe, but also that the Americas were a great place to grow many of Europe’s traditional foods.

      The beginning of globalization? Transporting plants and animals from one area of the world to the other.

    12. But this letter was the explorer’s report to his royal sponsors, and he wanted very badly to be sent back again.

      Important context. - It is interesting again, how the environment played a role in influencing future expeditions.

    13. Santa Maria, ran aground on

      Landed by accident? I didn't' know it ran aground.

    14. The other two-thirds seem to have been about evenly split between Europe, Africa, and the Americas –

      175 million in the Americas- until disease decimated the population.

    15. Fish from the Grand Banks helped feed

      one of many factors which led to the Renaissance/

    16. hat Grand Banks cod were so abundant that you could almost walk across the water’s surface on their backs.

      I don't think the text is asserting this as fact, but it seems like an exageration from Caboto.

    17. round 1000 CE.

      This is almost 2500 years prior to Columbus. While they may had to travel less distance, , it is still impressive if true. I wonder what environmental factors influenced this?

    18. ecisive factor was a change in global climate. In the middle of the fourteenth century, a four hundred-year period of global cooling known as the Little Ice Age began.

      Little Ice age- another environmental trend that influenced the history of North America.

    19. and the fact that we’re not all speaking Norwegian

      I'd like to provide some feedback here to the OER text. I'm not sure this sentence should be here as it is not necessary as it is not evidence based upon scientific fact. From my point of view, this risks being a logical fallacy- one should not dismiss the idea of other colonies just because we are not speaking a language. I'm sure the reason this was inserted was more to make the text more interesting, but i don't think it should be listed here as a supportive statement to the first part of the sentence.

    20. milk

      This is really interesting, but how do we know they were interested in milk? Is it because cattle were not there prior to the settlers? Were the natives able to digest it?

    21. 2 AM arrival o
    22. The shapes and placement of continents on our planet, and the climate changes surrounding the ice ages influenced the development of civilizations in both Eurasia and the Americas. In this chapter,

      Not only that, but the natural resources, weather patterns, and topography did as well.

    23. discovered

      I don't think there is a better word to be used by "discovered", but I always find it interesting that one person is given credit for this, and that anyone can be given credit for finding something which was not hiding.

    24. Our goal here is not to choose sides, but to recognize environmental factors that influenced the course of events.

      Not to engage in presentism, but do understand causality and the environment's role in it.

    25. The cultures of the Americas developed separately from their Eurasian cousins for about 12,000 years. In this chapter we’ll explore what happened when Europeans discovered the Americas.

      Main idea of the text. It is very helpful when authors do this so the reader can prepare for what he/she plans to learn.

  6. mlpp.pressbooks.pub mlpp.pressbooks.pub
    1. Chapter 1 of the course text describes how early Americans reached North and South America, and some of their common characteristics of how they lived. A few of the significant themes from the text include information about the rich histories of the early Americans prior to Columbus “discovering” American in 1492 and a narrative that describes the extent that the environment impacted the development of these early American civilizations.

      The text begins by describing how recent historical discoveries have changed the narrative of early American history. The text aptly states that “our continent’s history does not begin with Columbus or even the Vikings but with the stories of people who arrived in the Americas ten thousand years before the first Europeans”. Over long periods of time, changes in climate- the ice age; caused global ocean levels to fall which provided the opportunities for early American hunter-gathering tribes to live in Beringia, a place that is now underwater in the Pacific Ocean and in the Bearing Straight. These early Americans were hunter-gatherers who followed their prey into Beringia where they lived for thousands of years. Eventually, a warming climate necessitated the Berringians move inland to modern-day North and South America. It is incredible that these people traversed North and South America to arrive as far as Chile on foot. These tribes settled in different areas of North and South America and built different civilizations depending on their surrounding environments.

      Early Americans developed trade routes with each other—we know this because many plants have been discovered in city ruins that were not from the region. Early Americans were resourceful and adaptable; the text states “Early Americans were not only incredibly mobile, but they were also remarkably good at learning which local plants were healthy to eat”. As early Americans clustered into groups, independent cultures formed based upon the environmental conditions around them. Different spearhead chipping techniques suggest that civilizations rose and fell in the same areas, meaning that civilizations were not static and were subject to the same environmental factors as any other civilization. New technologies such as genomic sequencing, carbon dating, and satellite imaging are continuing to provide new information about the rich histories that were present in the Americas prior to 1492.

      Unique environmental factors led early Americans to develop civilizations different than those who lived in other parts of the world. The fossil record suggests that some of the large mammals that early Americans relied upon like the Wooly Mammoth and Dire Wolf died off due to a variety of factors including environmental changes or over hunting. This change in the food supply caused early Americans to focus on agriculture. Early Americans bred crops through selective hybridization, creating corn & maize from an ancient grass. These regular food supplies allowed populations to grow and great civilizations to flourish. Large metropolitan areas existed to support millions of people in a single city in the case of Lake Texcoco. These early Americans supported this large population with some of the most productive intensive farming techniques in the world.

      Chapter 1 closes with a sentence of perspective: it states “Nearly all of the changes that made Native Americans different from the Europeans they met in the Caribbean in 1492 happened recently, after the Eurasian hunter-gathers who were our ancestors went their separate ways during the last ice age”. What is fascinating is how crucial a role the environment played in shaping the course of these changes. It is unclear if the story of history can be told without people, but it is certain that history cannot be understood without considering the environment in which the events occurred.

    2. Nearly all of the changes that made Native Americans different from the Europeans they met in the Caribbean in 1492 happened recently, after the Eurasian hunter-gatherers who were our ancestors went their separate ways during the last ice age.

      This closing paragraph highlights some of the separate themes of the text. We are all one species, and all of the changes we notice today are a result of environmental factors that occurred relatively recently that changed our own developments.

    3. According to a recent study, the Marajoara grew 138 crops in the forest, more than half of which were trees. And they fertilized their orchards with a charcoal-based supplement called terra preta, which can still be detected in hundreds of square miles of Amazon soils over a thousand years later.

      This is truly impressive. We are not doing this today, and the Marajo did this thousands of years ago better.

    4. The Aztecs supported fifteen people per hectare using chinampas in the fifteenth century. Chinese intensive farming, the most successful agricultural technique known in Europe and Asia, supported only about three people per hectare at the same time.

      This is a great example of how the Americas were not the less developed world with Europe being more technologically advanced. Intensive farming practices were much more robust in the Americas.

    5. Abundant, regular food supplies allowed populations to grow.

      Do civilizations take similar steps to develop- to transition from hunter gathering traits to growing their own food and putting down roots? I am assuming the environment has a large role to play how quickly this happens.

    6. Year after year farmers saved seeds from the best plants with the biggest seed heads. Eventually, after generations of patient improvement these seeds began to look less like grass, and more like what we’d call ears of corn.

      This form of selective breeding is especially interesting in that it happened 9000 years ago, it would seem to be one of the most important inventions in human history as corn is such an important product.

    7. The Americans’ lack of large domesticated mammals caused their societies to develop differently from African, European, and Asian cultures that had beasts of burden such as oxen and horses. However, the early Americans quickly found plants they could expertly adapt to their needs.

      These two sentences do not seem to connect with each other- the first is discussing a different environment which meant less animal domestication, and the next is about plants..

    8. Early Americans were not only incredibly mobile, they were remarkably good at learning which local plants were healthy to eat.

      This is a great example that while our technological capabilities were far less than today, human beings are incredibly resourceful and can adapt.

    9. There was nothing narrow or temporary about Beringia.

      I had the impression that the land bridge between Russia and the US was very temporary, but for a mass migration to occur, this would not have made sense for large migration to occur. This was a place. It was not just for migrating- it was a place people lived.

    10. All these people were the descendants of the survivors who had left Africa between eighty and fifty thousand years ago to live north of the Black Sea.

      I am connecting back this idea back to a previously stated idea that it is likely that all humans today ultimately came from a few hundred Africans. This is impressive.

    11. and contributed to the genomes of all modern non-Africans.

      This must have been confirmed through genetic testing. Interesting to me that as I am Caucasian and have traced my family origins back to eastern France, it is likely I share some genetic material with Neanderthals.

    12. 150,000 years ago, some type of disaster seems to have reduced the Homo sapiens population in Africa to a couple thousand or maybe even just a few hundred people. This time period corresponds with the glacial maximum (the peak of the ice age) before the most recent one, so it’s likely that changes in weather patterns altered global patterns of vegetation, reducing the foods available to our ancestors.

      This is a great example of how environmental history helps to inform the story of homo sapiens- environmental changes necessitated both migration and a population decline.

    13. Historians have learned to rely on anthropologists, archaeologists, geographers, and linguists to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. And more recently on climatologists, geneticists, geophysicists, and even satellite remote-imaging systems to help piece together the stories of ancient peoples and how they lived.

      Utilizing multiple methods of inquiry and discovery.

    14. the Denisovans.

      I was not aware of this evolutionary branch. This is an excellent point regarding interbreeding. It caused me to access Description

      to learn more about this.

    15. global climate change

      A great example of environmental changes in climate altered the course of human decision making and travel.

    16. scientific breakthroughs

      What scientific breakthroughs have occurred? Perhaps this will be shared in the chapter.

    1. The main goal of this text is to show that it’s really not possible to understand our past while ignoring the environment.

      I really appreciate it when the author provides a central thesis to the chapter for the reader. It seems like this references "hybridity" that was described in the"World Without Us" by Paul Suttler.

    1. The World with Us: The State of American Environmental History by Paul Sutter provides both a summary of the changes in the relatively new field of environmental history, examples of its complexity, and recommendations for its future. The article provides both a narrative of the field’s strengths, as well as its weaknesses that it must address to expand its reach and influence into the future.

      Environmental history as an academic discipline began in the 1960s in conjunction with the environmental movement with the notion that only by understanding a historical perspective, could some of the more complex environmental problems be solved. Donald Worster was one of the scholarly champions of this movement and one of the most influential voices in environmental history at the beginning of the field. The movement’s early philosophical underpinnings were to provide evidence of how human civilization had eroded and destroyed the natural world. It was viewed as another category of analysis or lens for understanding history. The natural world was viewed as without blemish, and human begins were viewed as the principal agents of its destruction. Eventually the concept of “hybridity” emerged in the field, which Sutter used to provide a differentiation between the first generation of the discipline to the second generation. The concept of hybridity espouses that the natural world and the human world impact each other cannot be separated. Environmental conditions, locations and the number of natural resources all affect the state of human development and human interventions in the environment change the environmental conditions on the planet. The concept of “hybridity” is explored and further defined in the rest of the article.

      “Hybridity” provides a more realistic, complex, and detailed backdrop to discuss environmental history. While it does seem to make the discipline of environmental history harder to define, it allows for more multifaceted narratives about causes in the historical timeline to emerge. For example, the geographic location of the United States contributed to its cultural and economic development- the oceans provided protection from hostile invaders, and its abundant resources allowed for the industrial revolution. While the environment did not have the agency to dictate the history of the United States in this example, it did influence the decision made by individuals about where to live and what to do.

      The article expands the scope of environmental history to include everything in the environment, including animals, natural resources, and urbanization. A quote from the article that summarizes this position is “for environmental historians, there can be no world without us”. As such the resource we extract, the farmlands humans create, the animals in geographic regions, and the concrete villages (cities) we construct all are a part of the story of environmental history. All of these changes influence cause and effect relationships and how different aspects have changed over time. Even the attempts of conservation impact the story of our world.

      Sutter's article describes some political and social responses to the environment that individuals, government, and business have attempted. Many examples provided inferred the hubris of human beings making futile attempts to control nature through legislation that and ineffective policies- some of which canceled each other out from being effective

      The thesis here is to promote how deeply interlinked humanity is with its environment. Only through an understanding of the environment as a whole and its influence on human beings and humanity’s influence on the environment can one understand. The young field of environmental history is still in transition but it has already provided better answers and explanations to the story of humanity and will continue to enhance our understanding of issues if utilized.

    2. . As a result, the stories environmental historians tell are more complex, contingent, and counterintuitiv

      A result of the study of environmental history

    3. historians to follow. Indeed, Killing for Coal is exem- plary environmental history precisely because it is not always environmental history - and yet Andrews convincingly argues that it is impossible to understand the Colorado coalfield war without taking into account its envir

      An interesting perspective on Environmental History- one cannot understand the historical issue without understanding the environment, but it is also about the people.

    4. ion. Coal also fueled the global migration of labor, as mineral-intensive industrialization set people in motion. For Andrews, the Colorado coal region was a polyglot node in a world pulled together by the power of co

      Natural Resources, such as coal can also be a field of study in environmental history, as it has tremendous impacts on society.

    5. f environmental justice schola

      How does the urban environment around different groups of people impact culture?

    6. ether. Thus, the second generation of environmental historians inherited a built-environment pr

      What to do with the study of a human built environment? Urban Environmental history.