I think that two of the most important environmental factors that helped to play a part to the development and expansion of the United States were the potato famine in Ireland and the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. These two major events helped to shape our country into the one we know today and are more closely linked then some people believe.
The Irish Potato Famine began in September of 1845 with the first death from starvation being recorded the fall of the following year and lasted another three years. While this was devastating to Ireland and laid waste to a large part of its population, it also ended up stimulating Irish immigration to the United States, leading to both growth contributing to our workforce and expansion as these new immigrants looked to improve their lives by moving out of the ghettos and tenements of the large cities like Boston and New York to find land of their own. (Irish Potato Famine, Gone to America, 2013) During the famine years almost one million impoverished, starving and ill Irish men and women came to the United States. In 1847, the first big year of Famine emigration, the city of Boston was swamped with 37,000 Irish immigrants; New York had about 52,000 land the same year. All incoming passenger ships to New York had to stop for medical inspection. Anyone suffering from a fever was taken away and quarantined on Staten Island and the ship was then quarantined for 30 days, this was due to the fact that Typhus was running rampant though out Ireland due to weakened immune systems caused by starvation. (Grada, 2103). Those that managed to escape the slums and ghettos moved west toward the Appalachian Mountains and beyond them to the Mississippi River and then onto the Great Plains to farm their own land. However early exploration of the Great Plains showed a scarcity of surface water or lumber which originally made the area less eye-catching for pioneer settlement or farming. In fact it was known as the Great American Desert....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document