The development of the United States has been a remarkable and impressive feat. Compared to almost every other country around the world, the United States of America has experienced unprecedented progress, both technologically and socially. However, this progress was not purely based on ambition and the hard work of individuals seeking religious or social freedom from their home countries. Although this played a very large role when examining the history of the origins of the United States, there were some other factors at play.
One of the largest, perhaps overlooked, influences on the expedient development of the United States was the natural resources present in the new country. This essay will examine two of these geographical constructs as well as one from another society before explaining a cultural diffusion between these two societies.
Although the United States is very, very large compared to other countries, settlers spread out over the entire country very quickly. This was for a few reasons. Many adventurers wanted to lay claim on their own set of land; so while early settlements were primarily on the East coast of the U.
S., many people chose not to stay within these settlements and help expand but go out West and claim their plots of space. (Maher 2008) However, other people moved out West for a much different reason. That is, to strike it rich. The Gold Rush occurred primarily in the 19th century. Dreams of finding gold and making huge fortunes drove thousands of pioneers out to the dangerous and unfamiliar West to settle the land and pan for gold.
Without this natural resource, the allure of the West would not be present and to this day the West could remain relatively undeveloped. (Shulte 2002)
Another natural resource that has played a very large role in the development of the United States is coal. While coal mining seems somewhat outdated in this day and age, historically it was extremely vital to the technological advancement of this country. (Maher 2008) One needs to look no further than the industrial revolution to understand how coal mining has helped shaped the United States’ development. The industrial revolution was characterized by factories and the mechanization of work previously done by human hands. All of this was powered mostly by coal. Had the United States not been so abundant in coal, the industrial revolution would never have occurred to the degree that it did in the U.S.
Mesopotamia was considered the cradle of civilization, especially during the bronze age. (Reade 2000) While, unlike the U.S., Mesopotamia lacked abundant natural resources, its geographical location made it a prime spot for trading. This was large because it was located in between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, allowing for relatively easy transportation of goods as well as travel from area to area. (Reade 2000) The land itself was considerably swamped which meant that there were not a lot of metal reserves, however, the ar, ea’s crop abundance allowed Mesopotamia to still be a large beneficiary of the Bronze Age due to trading with other civilizations.
Largely because Mesopotamia had no natural barriers or boundaries, traveling in and out of Mesopotamia was extremely easy compared to many other societies at this time.
This meant that people were constantly able to trade goods between Mesopotamia and other areas, such as the Arabian Desert. (Reade 2000) This increased the economic strength of Mesopotamia. Even though the area never had a centralized government but rather city-states due to the varying and shifting cultural differences across the land, Mesopotamia still became extremely successful economically. (Reade 2000)
Looking at these examples, it is plain to see that a country’s success and historical background are not simply dependent on the people that inhabit them. Quite the contrary, it seems that geographical and environmental factors can have an even greater effect on how a country will be shaped. Taking into account the natural resources in the United States, it is extremely apparent how the country was able to expand west so fast and be so successful during the industrial revolution. Likewise, Mesopotamian culture became the “cradle of civilization” because of its proximity location between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is interesting to think about how many environmental factors come into play in developing countries. Only the future holds what will come to happen as these societies all around the world continue to progress.