The Southern Plains Of The United States Essays

The Southern Plains Of The United States Essays

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The southern plains of the United States, was an area that encompassed in part, Northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South East Colorado and Northern New Mexico. The area was predominately made up of several hundred species of drought resistant grasses, and was sparsely settled. It was less desirable for agriculture due the lack of supporting systems. The lack of nearby timber for building, water sources, and location to nearby cities, did not lend itself in appeal to settlement of the area, to the common American farmer. The expansion of the railroad to this area, and aggressive real estate marketing, both in the U.S. and abroad internationally, lured the initial migration of settlers to the area known as the Great Plains. Slogans such as “the rain will follow the plow” convinced people that the area would be suitable for sustainable farming, even though an arid drought pattern had existed in the region for some time. In 1862, the Federal Government granted land to settlers by way of the Homestead Act, which granted title of 160 acres of land to settlers after 5 years, with minimal requirements such as making land improvements and paying a small filing fee. This caused the initial increase in settlement to the area known as the Great Plains.
In 1909 the Federal Government expanded the Homestead Act to 320 acres. In addition, the demand for agricultural products, specifically wheat, caused a large influx of new farmers to the region. With the start of World War I, the demand for wheat increased tremendously. Europe relied on Russia for grain crops, but when the Turkish Navy blockaded their ships, the United States stepped in as the supplier. Government slogans such as “plant more wheat to win the war” became common an...

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...f the land as was done in the 1930’s. By 1952, the Ogallala aquifer was tapped and supplied the region with water, particularly during time periods of drought.
While many point to extended drought conditions for the cause of the Dust Bowl, the inflated price of wheat by the Federal Government caused a massive agricultural migration of farmers and speculative businessmen to the area, who stripped off the protective turf indiscriminately, allowing the arid winds to destroy the lands. Guaranteeing a profit of almost four hundred percent in hindsight could be viewed as reckless in the extreme, potentially thoughtless and imprudent in the least. For, were it not for the inflated price of wheat, the settlement of the Dust Bowl region would not have been a feverish event, promulgated across such a vast region, resulting in the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history.

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