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Great Plains Essay, Research Paper

For this assignment we are asked mainly to answer the questions given to use over the reading material, as a measure of accounting for each student completing the reading. In class we have briefly discussed these articles to the extent to figure out that most saw the article written by Walter Webb as being less than factual from a Historical context. On top of the use of unpoltically excepted terminology, Webb?s use of out dated opinions and knowledge leads to reader to conclude that his particular piece should be ?taken with a grain of salt,? and then compare to what factual knowledge the article by Licht has to say.

Question number asks us to describe our definition of the region we consider to be the Great Plains. In my opinion the only thing that Webb uses that I consider being valed is his use of the 98-degree longitude line, as a bases to put a general place on the Great Plains. However, the boundaries are what is primarily the problem of discussion. I think the Great Plains Extends east to basically the Mississippi river, North into Canada, and west into Kansas, dying off just before Colorado. As for a map to show this I would say that the map on pg. 31. Would best describe the Great Plains, but I would combine the Tall and Short grass prairies. For me it makes more sense to describe the Plains in this way because Historically I think it is more accurate then what Webb would have you believe.

Question two asks if definitions have change over time. This Question is answered plain and simple, yes. Both Historians and Ecologists have argued over the boundaries of the Great Plains for quite some time now. No one can seem to agree on what to neither use as a boundary, nor can the agree on a type of map to use. I guess it all depends on what science you are studying and what information or topic it is being referenced to. For Example, Webb?s maps show the plains divided up into both Tall and Short grasslands, however, what if you didn?t use that classification. What if you were not talking about grasslands and were talking about patterns of drought, or migration patterns of the American Indian. I don?t think you would use the same kind of reference map. It seems that Webb use these maps to portray a negative out look for what he calls ?The Great American Dessert.?

The third question asks if it is important to place Kansas in a physical, cultural and historical context. Yes, I believe it is for my purpose as a History teacher. I think that the history of Kansas is important in several areas and events that would require use to know the physical boundaries of the Great Plains, for that of the dust bowl and the soil content of such. I think that history of such physical information may help use to avoid or combat a problem of that nature again. Like we see now, we in Kansas as well as Texas and other areas in the Midwest are currently in somewhat of a drought. I think that it is a matter of time before Information of the past will be used even more so to prevent farmer?s crops from dieing as well as the soil blowing away. I think that culturally it helps people to understand the backgrounds of other regions and understand the trials and tribulations of the past, which helps to bring some appreciation for we have now. Historically, the knowledge of these things well help future generations prevent mistakes of the past, like over grazing and lack of wind lines, to prevent Dust bowl conditions and other like problems. It would also help in drawing political boundaries, for instance water issues as well as migration of Indians and other historical problems Kansas or people of a region would have. It would help know these concerns so that a politician would better be able to address these concerns. There are countless ways that place any region in these contexts is important and very useful.

The last question we have discussed in class at some great detail how perception and opinions of people from other places affect how we treat or how our prejudices affect the lives of people. I think that these prejudices affect how we as a society act towards all people, whether we perceive them to be dumb or unacreditable. It may effect how we act in our behavior, like that of our opinions and treatment of other races like that of Indians and blacks even to this day. It affects every aspect of our lives, our speech, shopping trends, migration patterns, who we associate with to even who we marry. It is all affected by our perceptions of people and places. You see it so clearly even in the reading and our discussions in class. Webb refers to Indians as being savages. It is this kind of attitudes that bring about the civil rights issues of the 50?s and 60?s.


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