Warm Up
• Write two sentences on the physical features
of North America.
• Write two sentences on the different
economies here in North America.
• Write one sentence on the contrast of
climates here in the USA.
United States
Historical Geography
of the USA
• Thirteen Colonies – 1700’s
• Louisiana Purchase – 1803
• Mexican Cession and Texas – 1840’s
• Gold Rush – 1840’s
• Westward Expansion – 1850’s to
• Hawaii - 1898
• Postwar Sun Belt Explosion – 1945 to
U.S. Cultural Geography
• American Exceptionalism - The belief that American values and beliefs about
democracy and liberty are superior to other values, are unique to the USA, and
are “exportable” to other parts of the world.
• The U.S. is called a “melting pot”. What does this mean?
Primary Languages
• English 82.1%
• Spanish 10.7%
• other Indo-European
• Asian and Pacific island
• Other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: Hawaiian is an official
language in the state of
Primary Ethnic Groups
White 79.96%
Hispanic 15.1%
Black 12.85%
Asian 4.43%
Amerindian and Alaska
native 0.97%
• native Hawaiian and
other Pacific islander
• two or more races 1.61%
Primary Religions
Protestant 51.3%
Roman Catholic 23.9%
Jewish 1.7%
Buddhist 0.7%
Muslim 0.6%
other or unspecified
2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%,
• none 4% (2007 est.)
Overview of United States
• World's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada)
• 3rd largest population (after China and India) = 310,232,863 (July 2010
• How many states?
– 50
• What type of Government System?
– Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
• What is a Federal Republic?
– There is a National Government and there are State Governments
• What are the three branches of government?
– Executive (President / Governor)
– Legislative Congress (House of Reps. / Senate) –both National and State
– Judicial (Court System) – Federal Court and State Courts
U.S. Regional Physical Geography
Vast central plains
Mountains in west
Hills and low mountains in east
Rugged mountains and broad
river valleys in Alaska
• Rugged, volcanic topography in
*** Refer to Region Group Presentation Notes ***
• Almost every type of climate is found in the United States
since it extends over such a large area North to South.
• Canada has a cold climate because of it’s latitude.
Cities and Transportation in
North America
Why do people settle where they do?
Higher population where factors are
better, lower where life is harder.
•Climate – temperate, desert, tropical
•Transportation Networks – rail, road,
river, harbors – where two intersect,
often a city will form.
•Resources – mining, agriculture, water
•Economics – ease of trade, nearby
markets and customers
What is a city?
politically organized region
center of business and culture
innovation and technological advances
economic activity
• Central Business District (CBD)
= downtown areas
• Suburbs – Developed areas
around the CBD
• Metropolitan Area- The city,
its suburbs, and surrounding
• Megalopolis- Formed when
several metropolitan areas
grow together
• Example?
– Boston, New York City,
Philadelphia, Baltimore and
Washington D.C. form the
“BosWash Megalopolis”
Warm Up
• Write two sentences summarizing why this is
the region of immigrants.
• Write two sentences on the variety of culture
in N. America.
What are the reasons for city
locations in North America?
Some cities may be more than one kind of city, depending on the
history of the city.
Port – located along coast
River – located along major internal waterways
Railway – located along rail lines
Highway – located and formed alongside major interstates and
Each were determined by the type of transportation
Port Cities – Our First Cities
• Earliest European cities in the New World, found on
• Centers for shipping and international trade
• Examples: St. Augustine (1565), St. Johns – Canada (1583),
New York (1625), Boston (1630), San Francisco (1776)
River Cities – Expansion Inland
• Waves of expansion used rivers as paths for travel, shipping, and
• Major rivers with heavy urbanization include the Ohio, Mississippi, Hudson,
Missouri, and St. Lawrence Rivers. This also includes the Great Lakes
Examples: Chicago (1803), St. Louis (1763), New Orleans (1718 - also a Port
city), Montreal (1642), Cincinnati (1788), Austin (1835), Kansas City (1838)
Rail Cities
• In the mid 1800’s, trains became a major form of transportation. This
caused several river cities to expand in size and importance, such as
Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City.
• Rail cities are mostly found in two belts
1. “Rust Belt” cities around the Great Lakes – Chicago, Gary, Cleveland
2. “Cattle Country” cities in the Midwest/Great Plains regions – Kansas City,
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver.
Highway Cities
• Built after WWII, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower during Cold War
(1950’s). Also used for defense – so the military could move quickly around
the US during a war, especially a nuclear war.
• Led to massive growth of cities in the western portions of the USA.
• Examples: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, El Paso
Map of the Interstate System
Population Distribution of the United States
What Major Ethnic Groups?
• White 66%
• Hispanic 15%
• Black 13%
• Asian 4.43%
• Amerindian and
Alaska native 0.97%
• Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific islander
• Mixed Race 1.61%
Basic Facts of Immigration
• The number of foreign-born residents of the
United States (39 million of 307 Million) is at its
highest level in US history.
• Roughly 12% of Americans were born in a
different country.
• Of these immigrants to the US…
– one-third are naturalized citizens
– one-third are legal permanent residents
– one-third are illegal aliens.
USA: where do immigrants come from?
Pull Factors
• Stable political systems.
• Representative democracy with laws insuring
individual rights.
• Economy that have historically grown with low
tax rates.
• Economic opportunity to immigrants.
Push Factors
• Many countries do not have employment
• Widespread corruption exists in many
• Many countries have no healthcare system.
• War, famine and natural disasters.
Current Issues with Policies
• Illegal Immigrants
– Do not pay income taxes.
– Money sent back to home country which is not
invested in U.S. economy.
– Use services which raise price
• Healthcare
• Car Insurance

Slide 1