AP US History Environment Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in May of 1933. Its job was to make dams and regulate the prices of electricity. The Authority was also designed to help reforestation and decrease damaging flooding.
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a brilliant idea as well. There was no work in the cities for young men, so the CCC took them to national parks and forests and rural America. While there they would work to improve the environment (such as by reforestation) or they would help farmers. There were even groups for nonwhites.
The Cattle Kingdom
Longhorn cattle were brought from Europe to America by the Spanish. Hispanic ranchers farmed cattle in the Southwest. When White Americans moved into the West they more or less took over the trade. When they realized the profits that could be made selling beef to easterners, the Cattle Kingdom exploded and this helped with the elimination of the buffalo.
Fur Traders and Trappers
The first white men to live in the wilderness independently to hunt heavily. This had a great effect on many of the species living in the forests of the northeast.
Hetch Hetchy
Hetch Hetchy was a beautiful valley in Yosemite. It damming in the 1920's caused major controversy among environmentalists. Opposition was led by John Muir and the Sierra Club.
Fence laws
Fence laws required farmers to fence off their animals instead of their crops, as had previously been the custom. This ended the open range system.
Buffalo had dominated the Great Plains before white Americans moved in, and Native Americans had long lived off the buffalo while sustaining their population. However, whites killed off many buffalo for food and fun, and the many cattle bred in the area contributed to the plummeting of the buffalo population.
Transcontinental railroad
The railroad which linked the east to the west. It allowed many settlers to travel west and allowed the goods they produced to travel back east. It ran through farmland and plains and had a negative effect on the buffalo population.
Homestead Act
Permitted any citizen or prospective citizen to claim 160 acres of public land and to purchase it for a small fee after inhabiting it for five years. Lured massive amounts of people to the West where they converted wild land into farmland.
Timber culture act
Permitted homesteaders to receive grants of 160 additional acres if they planted 40 acres of trees on them. This was obviously a positive for environmentalists
Desert land act
Provided that the claimants could but 640 acres at $1.25 an acre on the condition that they irrigate part of their holdings in three years
Cattle drives
The cattle drives were the forced migration of massive numbers of cattle to the railroads where they could be shipped to the East
Petroleum industry
In the 1850's, George Bissell discovered that petroleum could be turned into oil to be burned in lamps, naphtha, and paraffin. This is when the industry began to grow
Oil Drilling
Edwin L. Drake established the first oil well in 1859 in Titusville Pennsylvania. The demand grew and more oil fields quickly sprang up. By the 1870's, oil was the fourth largest export in the country
Creation of large parks in cities
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created Central Park. They wished to create public space that looked as little like the city as possible. Their attempt at recreating nature in the city was widely copied in other cities
Alice Hamilton
A physician who exposed many dangerous substances such as lead, ceramic dust, and chemical waste which were making many people unhealthy
Panama Canal
Linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Finished by the U.S. in 1914 and used mostly for trade.
Focused on "reason" as opposed to "understanding". They looked at nature as a source of human inspiration. People lamented its destruction and actually began to care about preservation in the mid 1800s. Nature was considered to be a large part of humanity
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Was a prominent Transcendentalist who focused much on the environment. One of his most prominent poems was entitled "Nature" and it focused on how individuals must have a relationship with the natural world
Henry David Thoreau
Wrote "Walden" which glorified his time spent in the nature of Walden Pond. He rejected the artificial constraints of society.
The Erie Canal
The Erie Canal was completed on July 4 1817 and was surprisingly successful. Its success spawned the rush to build many more canals and further change the environment with artificial waterways.
Rocky Mountain School
The Rocky Mountain School was more a school of thought than an actual institution. Its members were influenced by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding landscape. The most famous members were Albert Bierstacht and Thomas Moran. Their works romanticized the West.
Echo Valley
Environmentalists had not been active since their failure at Hutch-Hutchy in Yosemite earlier in the century. However, they feared a similar dam being built to flood echo valley, and Americans all over the nation fought to preserve the wildlife. The Echo valley incident is indicative of the growing importance of the environment
Manifest destiny
Fuelled the desire of Americans to spread westward and take over the environment with civilization. Hundreds of thousands (about 300,000) of Americans travelled to the West between 1840 and 1860. Many used the Oregon trail or other great overland trails
Mill System
Between 1807 and 1815, the total number of cotton spindles increased more than fifteenfold. The many mills which were built in this time period were built alongside rivers and streams. As they dropped waste into the adjacent waterways, these mills contributed heavily to water pollution
The factory system
Factories spread wildly as well in the 1820s. Many of these factories were also built alongside water to take advantage of water power. Many also had massive smokestacks. Factories polluted both water and air
First Inhabitants
For thousands of years the peoples populating the Americas were completely dependent upon their environment living in nomadic societies or small communities reliant upon subsistence agriculture. This absolute dependence would result in these cultures having great respect for the land that sustained them
European Arrival
European powers took notice of the materials and resources available outside their own borders and would truly begin exploring the Americas in the late 1400's. They would displace the natives who revered their resources and create an industry out of some materials that they were familiar with and some foreign materials that would soon be in great demand
Rise of the City
As the United States began to stabilize itself people seeking out work outside of home piece work and the agricultural field, the country began to urbanize, creating a number of large cities
As European society expanded in the eastern United States, the north would continue on a path defined by subsistence agriculture which supported its other ventures but the south would mirror much of the Caribbean which grew cash crops in an agricultural system which would use up much of the soil's nutrients and in a number of years make the land infertile
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