Unit II, Section 1
Section Overview
In this section we will look at the
geographic, cultural, and modern factors
that have shaped the North American
region north of the Rio Grande River
and south of the North Pole.
Geography Textbook
Chapters 5-7
Objectives

Understand the physical and geographic
features of the US/Canadian region.

Analyze the historic and government
similarities and differences of the region.

Comprehend the different aspects of the
economic sectors of the two nations.

Analyze the cultural aspects of the region.
Mountain Ranges

Rocky Mountains
 Physical link between the US & Canada
 3000 miles long
 Runs from New Mexico to Alaska
 “Continental Divide”
○ River flow determiner

Appalachian Mountains
 Oldest continental mountain range
 1500 miles in length
○ Quebec to Alabama
The Great Plains
Grassland environment
 300 to 700 miles across
 Begins in the foothills of the Rockies

 Elevation up to 6000 feet
Slopes 10 feet per mile toward the
Mississippi River
 Iconic inhabitants

 Plains Indians
 Bison
Other Features

Grand Canyon
 Found on the Columbian Plateau
 Formed through erosion of the Colorado River
 6000 ft at its deepest

Death Valley
 Found in the Great Basin
 Highest temperature in the World
○ 134 degrees (F)

Mt. McKinley
 Highest continental peak
 20,320 feet high
Water Features

Mississippi River
 2,350 miles from
Minnesota to the Gulf
 Drains 1.2 millions
square miles
 31 states and 2
Canadian provinces
effected
 One of the World’s
busiest commercial
waterways
…Continued

The Great Lakes
 Erie, Huron,
Michigan, Ontario,
& Superior
 The St. Lawrence
Seaway connects
lakes to the ocean
 Center for regional
industry
Natural Resources

Fossil Fuels
 Fuel sources created by carbon deposits
compressed over millions of year
 Petroleum
○ Texas (1st) & Alaska (2nd)
 Natural Gas
○ High deposits in Texas and Alberta
 Coal
○ Wyoming, Appalachian Mountains, Illinois, &
British Columbia
…Continued

Timber
 Renewable resource
 Half of Canada & a third of the US remain heavily
forested
 Clear-cutting issues
 Responsible timber management
○ Replanting efforts

Fishing
 The Grand Banks
 Overfishing has lead to decline of some species
○ Cod
 Aquaculture
○ Growing industry alternative
…Continued

Agriculture
 Once major regional way of life
 Commercialization of farming of
commodities
○ Goods to sell
○ Cereal crops & livestock
 1 billion acres in the US, 167 million acres in
Canada
 Farm size is growing while number of farms
are decreasing
…Continued

Major Agricultural Industries
 Beef Cattle
○ Western/Southern US; Prairie provinces of
Canada
 Dairy Cattle
○ Northeast/Upper Midwest
 The Wheat Belt
○ Great Plains
 The Corn Belt
○ From Ohio to Nebraska
Nations of Immigrants

Diversity reflected in immigration
 Majority of population descend from
immigrants

Immigration due to
 Political/religious freedom
 Escape
 Pursuit of a better life
Industrialization & economic growth
attracted immigrants
 2004- 11.7% of the US was foreign born

Early Americans

First Humans
 Moved across the Bering Land Bridge
○ 20,000 years ago
 Ancestors of the Native Americans
Developed into nearly 500 nations
 Pre-Columbian pop. est.- 7-18 millions
 Today, 3 million Native Americans

European Discovery
Viking exploration in the 1000’s
 Columbus “discovers” the New World in
1492

 Native American populations begin waning
in coming decades

Mid-1500’s saw European colonization
 Spanish: South & Southwest
 French: Northeast & Mississippi River
Valley
 English: Atlantic Coast
Nation Building

The United States
 Heavily influenced by British colonial powers
○ Roanoke, Jamestown, & Plymouth
 Colonial society flourished in three distinct
areas
○ New English: Shipbuilding and Trade
○ Mid-Atlantic: Cash Crop Farming
○ South: Plantation Crops
…Continued
 1763: British seize
French holdings
 1776-1783: American
Revolution
○ Establishment of a New
Nation
 Federalist System
 Bill of Rights
 Separation of Powers into
three branches
…Continued
 Nations pushes westward after the




Revolution
Industrialization reaches America
North est. as a industrial center
Middle West est. as resource
rich/farming
South est. as an agrarian society
○ Cotton production
○ Plantation society
○ An enslaved workforce
…Continued
 1861-1865: the
American Civil War
○ Fought between
industrial North and
agrarian South
○ North wins
○ Slavery abolished at
wars end
○ Freed slaves given US
citizenship
 Still faced another
century of discrimination
…Continued
 Post-Civil war changes
○ Transcontinental Line
opens
 Built by Chinese, Irish,
& Mexican immigrants
○ Improvements in
farming
○ Growth of industrial
centers
○ Development and
furthering of electrical
technology &
communication
…Continued
 The Modern Age
○ Both World Wars spurred
economic growth
 Assembly line production
 Development of a mobile and
growing population
 Standard of living rose
 Demand of luxury goods
○ Today
 Post-industrial society
 Focus on ideas and technology
development
Nation Building, Canada

Canada
 Short lived
colonization of the
Vikings
○ L’Anse aux Meadows
 Later European
explorers
○ John Cabot & Jacque
Cartier
 Both established
European claims
…Continued
 Early settlements
influenced by the French
○ Establish fur trading posts
○ Few European settlers
 Men
○ Made contact with Native
American tribes
○ Later influences of Catholic
missionaries
…Continued
 British & French conflict over territory begins
in the 1670’s
○ Hudson Bay Co. looking for the Northwest
Passage
 Conflict erupts during the French & Indian
War
○ British capture Quebec in 1759
○ New France conquered in 1763
○ Quebec Act allowed French to keep their
language, religion, & system of laws
…Continued
 American Revolution
○ Loyalist migration
during war
 Flight to the Maritime
Provinces
 Settled in Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, &
Prince Edward Island
○ Failed attempt to
invade Canada by
Continental forces
…Continued
 The 1800’s
○ Massive immigration push of
British immigrants
○ Shelter for escaped US slaves on
the Underground Railroad
○ Klondike Gold Rush brought
prospectors to the Far North
○ Prairie Provinces attracted further
settlers
 Farming
…Continued
 1867 the Dominion of Canada formed
○ Feud with colonial power
○ Fear of an US invasion
○ Established as part of the British Empire
 Canadian Independence
○ 1901
○ Great Britain held control over Canadian
Constitution
○ Full legislative control in 1982
 1999 Nanavet established for Inuit peoples
○ “Our Land”
…Continued
 Government
○ Legislative Branch
 Parliament
- Senate & House of Commons
○ Executive Branch
 Prime Minister
 Stephen Harper
○ Judiciary
 9 member Supreme Court
 Beverly McLachlin
○ British Crown’s Representative
 Governor General
 David Johnston
…Continued
 Capital of Canada
○ Ottawa
 Provinces
○ Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island,
Saskatchewan, Alberta, Newfoundland & Labrador
 Major Metropolitan Areas
○ Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, &
Edmonton
 Currency
○ Canadian Dollar
 Population
○ 35 Million
Post-Industrial Societies

US & Canada characterized as this
 Less emphasis on heavy industry
 Focus on service sector jobs, research, and
high-tech business
 Fastest growing jobs
○ Jazz Pharmaceuticals (US)
○ Holly Frontier (US)
○ Avigilon Corp. (Can.)
○ Mood Media Corp. (Can.)
Economics

US
 Market Economy
 Freedom to operate within the marketplace
 Government protection of property and
workers

Canada
 More Command in nature
 Public ownership of some industries
 Private ownership encouraged
…Continued

NAFTA (North American
Free Trade Agreement)
 1994
 Opened trade between the
US, Canada, & Mexico
 Created the World’s largest
trading bloc
 Criticism for making
outsourcing easier
…Continued

Outsourcing
 Decrease in American heavy industry,
push overseas in the 2000’s
 Movement of jobs overseas
○ Cheaper labor
○ Fewer regulations
○ Availability of a workforce/resources
 India, Indonesia, China, & Estonia
leading contenders
 National push for “Made in America”
Cultural Aspects

The Arts
 Movies (US)
○ Industry based in Los Angeles
○ Largest English speaking movie producer
 Theatre (US)
○ Industry based out of New York City
○ Toronto major theatre center for Canada
 Jazz Music
○ Strictly American in nature
○ Blend of West African rhythms w/ Western
harmonies
○ Developed in Southern African American
communities
Transportation

Airports
 Atlanta’s Hartsfield
○ Countries busiest
○ 38.2 million passengers annually
 Toronto’s Pearson International
○ 34.9 million passengers in 2012
Heavy use of national highway systems
 Mass transit a staple of metropolitan areas
 Mississippi River major water highway of
the United States

The Human Experience

Major Languages
 US- English & Spanish
 Canada- English & French
All five major world religions are
practiced freely
 Emphasis on public education
 Family dynamics

 Family sizes are getting smaller regionally
 Change in what the “traditional” family is
Quebec



Claims laid by both the
English & French explorers
French furthered influence
within the territory (Est. of
New France)
Push for population growth
 The “Kings Daughters”


Seized by the British in 1763
Regional difference remain
 Push to maintain language and
cultural heritage
 Consideration of separating
from Canada
Concerns

Terrorism





9/11 Attacks
Shaped US world view
Prompted two military conflicts
Reshaped our daily lives
Equality of Healthcare
 Command systems in place regionally
○ US- Social Security
 How to provide this service cheaply and
universally
…Continued

Trade
 US
○ Trade Deficit
 Spending more on imports than making on exports
 Canada
○ Trade Surplus
 Making more/equaling out of exports and imports
 Smaller population
…Continued

Urbanization
 Growth/movement into cities
 Crime, healthcare, housing, pollution

Farmland Degradation
 Poor farming practices degraded arable
lands
○ Arable- land suitable for farming
 Over grazing/farming, pesticides, erosion
○ Dust Bowl
Regional Issues

Invasive Species
 Asian Carp, Africanized Honeybees,
Emerald Ash Borer, Kudzu, Autumn Olive
 Blocked waterways, crop destruction,
species displacement
Species Decline
 Acid Rain/Smog
 Water Pollution
 Polar Melt

Push For Green Energy

Options
 Nuclear Energy
 Solar Power
 Wind Energy
 Hydroelectric Power
○ Reliable/Reasonably Safe/Renewable
○ Waste Products/Expensive/Location
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The United States & Canada