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final alcatraz - Zhu 1 Rong Chang Zhu LDA 30 E Boults...

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Zhu 1 Rong Chang Zhu LDA 30 E. Boults Section 4 03/13/08 History of Alcatraz Island Alcatraz Island an 18.86 acre island located across the bay from San Francisco, California. Today, when tourists visit San Francisco, they receive brochures, guides and a map of San Francisco, all of which usually include Alcatraz Island as an attraction not to be missed in San Francisco. Many of us know that Alcatraz is famous for having held the most dangerous and infamous criminals in the U.S., but the island also has a very unique history. Alcatraz Island is like the Eiffel Tower in Paris with their unique histories and their appeal in drawing people’s attention. Alcatraz Island was discovered in 1775 by a European sailor named Juan De Ayala. When he first discovered the island, it was nothing but a rocky, sandstone hill. Not long after De Ayala’s discovery, the U.S. government took control of the island and has used the island to fulfill multiple throughout the island’s history. First, the government wanted Alcatraz Island, along with its two neighboring islands Yerba Buena and Angel Island, to be reserved for public use. Later, the government changed their mind and wanted Alcatraz to be used for military defense, believing that change would allow the military to be confident that the Bay Area would be protected from invasions by unwanted outsiders coming to the U.S. Finally, the government changed the island into a military prison, and then a federal prison (Throughout all of these changes, the expression of power and control has shaped the landscape and the architecture of
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Zhu 2 the island tremendously. THE DEFENSIVE MILITARY POST The expression of power and control made big changes the landscape of the island. In his book, “The Rock,” Pierre Odier explains De Ayala’s discovery of Alcatraz Island and President Millard Fillmore quickly reserving Alcatraz Island for military use 125 years later. The U.S. Government wanted to make the island a “first class” national defense for the country. This defense was broken up into three main purposes: “to prevent the passage of enemy ships into the harbor; secondly, to be in a position to destroy such vessels should they gain entrance; and, lastly, to have an interior line of batteries that could block the three passages with gunfire.”(Odier 34) Building this military defense was costly, as the batteries alone cost the government $600,000 to build on the island. These batteries, however, were important as they represented the first permanent American fortification on the Pacific Coast. To add to the cost, before the military could mount guns on the perimeter of the island, they first had to change the slope of the cliffs which were too vertical to install guns on. Thus, they had to remove most the slopes so the perimeter would have a vertical height of 25 feet all around, upon which they could insert the guns. Both of these examples demonstrate the U.S. government expressing great power through the use of manpower, money, and military power. The military fortifications on Alcatraz
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