The Landscape and
People of the United
Mrs. Stephanie Holland
Trinity Christian School
BLESSED IS THE NATION
WHOSE GOD IS LORD.
Capital – Washington D.C.
Government – Federal
Third in the world in physical
Third in the world in population
The United States is unique among other
countries in the world.
Varied natural resources
Blend of different cultures/ethnicities
It is has the freest, most stable government
in the world, a strong economy and
powerful influence across the globe.
Northern border – Canada
Longest unfortified border in the world
The main border follows the St. Lawrence
From New England to Quebec and divides
four of the five United States
Southern border – Mexico
Border unfortified, but law enforcement is
visible because of the problem with illegal
immigrants traveling from Mexico.
One natural border is the Rio Grande
The lower 48 states can be divided into 8
distinct topographical regions
Pacific Mtn Ranges
Then, there is Alaska and Hawaii
Sandy plains along the coasts of the
Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico –
extending from Maine to Texas
300 ft or less in elevation
Mostly fertile soil
Areas with poor drainage include the
Everglades, the Dismal Swam, and the
Allows for good harbors
Foothills of the Appalachian Mountains
Extends from Maine to Alabama
Elevation ranges from 300 to 1500 feet
Where the rivers drop from the Piedmont
to the Coastal Plain, there are numerous
waterfalls…that line is also the Fall Line.
Fertile ground – very conducive to
West of Piedmont
Extends from Eastern Canada to Northern
Smokey, blue Ridge, Allegheny, Pocono,
Catskills, Berkshire Hills, White and Green
Highest peak is Mount Mitchell in North
Eastern Continental Divide is formed by the
Appalachians. The waters that flow from here
eventually flow into the Atlantic
West of the Appalachians
Fertile rolling hills and prairies
Stretch about 1000 miles
Mississippi river and its tributaries and
the Great Lakes proved numerous water
routes for transportation
The Great Plains
West of the Central Plains
Altitude rises from about 1,000 feet to
Characterized by flat grasslands and a
Irrigation was needed to turn the fertile
soil from the Great American Desert into
fertile plains good for both farming and
Western boundary of the Great Plains
Peaks exceed 10,000 feet/tallest is
Mount Elbert at 14,433
Formidable obstacle to western
Mineral resources/natural parks/ski
Western Contintental Divide – waters
flow from here to the Mississippi River
and the Gulf of Mexico and to the Pacific
The Great Basin
Lowlands between the Rockies and the
Pacific coast mountains.
Most of Nevada and a part of Utah
To the north is the Columbian Plateau
and to the south is the Colorado Plateau
Winds have created unusual rock
formations and rivers cut deep canyons
Pacific Mountain Ranges
Includes the Sierra Nevada, the
Cascade Mountains, and the Coastal
Include active volcanoes
Separated from the mainland states by
an ocean and another country
Coastal mountains rim the Gulf of Alaska
Highest peak is Mount McKinley at
20,320 (Highest peak in North America)
Rich in mineral resources, especially oil
Mountain ranges flow mostly into the
Western most state
Chain of volcanic islands
Military headquarters for the Pacific
Beaches make it a popular tourist
Prevailing winds are west to east.
Japanese current warms the northwest
coast and bring a lot of rain
Cool ocean current blows by California
giving a mild mediterranean climate with
dry summers and mild wet winters
Moisture evaporates at the mountain
ranges, so east of the Pacific mountains
the winds are dryer, milder and cooler.
These areas are hot during the day but
quickly cool at night.
As winds pass over the Rockies, they
lose even more moisture. The area of
the Great Plains gets much less rainfall –
only 10 to 20 inches per year. This area
is hot in summer and cold in winter.
In the Eastern US, there are two basic
The Eastern US has a generally cool,
mild climate. Winters are cold and
summers are hot.
The South is influenced by the westerly
flow of air and the warm, moist breezes
from the Gulf of Mexico. Milder temps
than in the North. Violent thunderstorms
and tornadoes occur in the summer,
especially in the border states
Between June and November, the
Southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts are
susceptible to hurricanes and tropical
The United States is among the top
producers of the resources it possesses.
Obtains lacking resources through trade
In the US, free government and
economic freedoms encourage individual
and corporate groups to creatively and
intelligently utilize resources.
The U.S. has been very successful in its
use of plant and animal life – providing
not only enough for our own use, but
also for trade with other countries.
Very few Americans can trace their
ancestry back to the Native American
people. Most are descended from
Early settlers build a strong, prosperous,
and united country with a shared respect
for Christian values and willingness to
endure personal sacrifice. They are also
united by certain core values. (?)
Freedom - includes economic, political
and religious liberty. Political liberty is
the freedom of the people to chose their
own leaders and to have voice in their
These are not the same as Biblical views
of liberty which is freedom from sin and the
ability to serve God.
Equality – All men are created equal.
Early in our history, this meant that all
men are equally human, not that they
should have the same rights and
privileges. Lincoln is the one who
expanded the meaning of equality to
mean that all men are socially equal and
the belief that equality meant freedom
Equality and liberty often conflict. If the
government tries to enforce a social
equality, it would have to restrict some of
the freedoms of some citizens. (Such as
the freedom to make financial gain
through individual work and ability)
Individualism – celebrates self reliance
and individuality, often at the expense of
Another distinct quality of American
society is the melting pot of religious
thought, ethnicity, cultures. These
differences can make equality a
challenge, but America strives to
Estimated population 296 million
79% urban areas (including suburbs)
Minority groups are growing in population –
Texas is now 50.2% nonwhite, the largest
group is Hispanic.
Birth rate is approximately 14…(14 live
births per 1,000 people.
Average life span – 77
Power is shared between the federal
government and the fifty states. (As well as
US Constitution is the overriding
government document. All other
government levels must follow this
example and not contradict it.
Separation of powers between three
distinct branches of the national
government – Executive, Legislative and
Free Enterprise Capitalism – private
individuals own most of the factors of
production and make most of the economic
decisions. Individuals and corporations can
compete in the economy to make profit.
GDP – $11.65 trillion
than 1% is from agriculture, yet America
“feeds the world” and are the most productive
in the world.
Almost 20% industry
Per capita GDP is $40,100.
One major concern is national debt
17% of Government expenditures are
War on Terrorism is costly
Relief for national disasters
of the land is owned by the government.
55% of the west is owned by the government.
36.4% of Alaska and Hawaii are owned by
Only 2.4% of government owned land is for
military purposes. The rest is National parks,
forests, wildlife areas or protected areas.