Cast Of Each Comic

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chapter 1 Tools for Studying History: Using Maps

Here are some info you may enjoy and some history as well, too.  Enjoy!

The Bird Lifts Of
On My 5, 1961, Commander Alan B. Shepard became the first American to enter outer space. Lucian C. Warren, a reporter, described the launching in this manner:
There was deafening handclapping and cheering as the bird gracefully lifted itself into the sky, its rocket belching from the lower end, soared through a few thin clouds, began a vapor trail,then disappeared into space history. . . .
This was a historic day.  Yet it was only a new chapter in the continuing history of our country.

The Astronauts
The first people chosen as astronauts, or people who travel in space, became as close as the members of a large family.  They trained together and ate, slept, and lived under the same roof.  Three of them died together in an accident at Cape Canaveral on the east coast of Florida in January 1967.  The seven-member crew of the space shuttle Challenger died in an explosion shortly after takeoff in January 1986.  The brave crew members had risked their lives to explore the unknown.

John H. Glenn, later a senator from Ohio, was the first to orbit, or circle, the earth.  His successful three-orbit flight took place on February 20, 1962.  Other astronauts have reached heights equal to or greater than Glenn's.  A dozen have had the thrill of walking on the moon.  The first astronaut to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong in 1969.  From the moon, astronauts have an unusual experience.  In one glance they can see the whole United States or Asia.

Only a few of us will ever see the whole United States as space travelers can now see it.  However, we can see our whole country in other ways.  Maps can show the entire United States.  Indeed, maps can show aspects of the country that are invisible from space.

Relief Maps
As space travelers speed through space above the United States, they can perhaps make out certain land-forms, such as mountain ranges.  Whether they can or cannot, you can see them by looking the relief map.  A relief map shows the elevation, or height, of the earth's surface.  The elevation of land is expressed in feet or meters above or below sea level.  Elevation is often shown by contour lines.  All points along a contour line are exactly the same distance above or below the level of the sea.  Sometimes color is added between contour lines as on the relief map to show different elevations more clearly.

Among the mountain ranges shown on the relief map are the Appalachians and the Rockies.  Which ocean is the Appalachian range closer to?  The Rocky Mountains makes up the largest range in the United States.  Between the Appalachians and the Rockies, there are plains and plateaus.  West of the Rockies are three other mountain ranges.  What are their names?

Mountain ranges have been important in United States history.  They were barriers, or walls, that slowed for a time the movement of the American people.  Nevertheless, as you will learn, these barriers were overcome as the United States spread across the continent.

Political Maps
No space traveler can see the boundaries dividing our country into 50 states.  But you can, by looking at the map.  It is a political map.  A political map shows such things as national and state boundaries and the names and locations of towns and cities.  Find your state on the map.  Does it share a common boundary with other states?  If so, which ones?

Can you find states on the political map that do not touch any of the other states?  That touch only one other state?  How many foreign countries share a common boundary with the United States?  Some states have no water boundary between two states.  The political map shows the capital city of each state.  Could space travelers pick out your state's capital city as they orbit the earth?  Probably not.  But you can tell the name of the capital city of each state by looking at the map.  How many states have capital cities named for United States Presidents?

You can also find the location of each capital city on the political map.  You do this by using lines of latitude and longitude.  Lines of latitude circle the earth in an east-west direction.  They are numbered north and south of the Equator.  Lines of longitude run north-south between the two poles.  The lines are numbered east and west of the Prime Meridian.  What are the latitude and longitude coordinates for Memphis, Tennessee?  What city is located near 33* N, 97* W?  What are the coordinates for your state capital?

Rivers and Lakes

The map above shows the largest rivers and lakes in the United States.  As you can see, the Mississippi River and its tributaries,  rivers that run into the Mississippi stand out as features of the land.  During the entire span of human life in North America, the Mississippi River system has provided food and transportation for the people of the region.

In the northeastern section of the United States are the Great Lakes.  Can you find the names of these five lakes on the map above.  Which is the only one entirely within the United States?

Our Highway System

Rivers and lakes provided a natural system of transportation in our land for thousands of years.  But nineteenth-century Americans added to this natural system by building canals and railroads.  In the twentieth century, Americans added an extensive highway system.

The map above shows our Interstate Highway System.  Interstate highways are identified by route markers that look like red, white, and blue shields.  The even-numbered interstates, such as 40, 70, and 80, run east and west.Those with odd numbers, such as 5, 25, and 95, are north-south routes.  Find these routes on the map above.

The first interstates were begun in 1956.  Today the system is 95% complete.  At times of gasoline shortages some Americans have criticized the Interstate Highway System.  These critics say it is not wise to spend large sums of money on a system that encourages travel by private automobile.  It would be better, they say, to spend the money on mass transit.  Mass transit is the carrying of people by buses, trains, and subways.  How do you think the money should be spent for interstate highways or for mass transit?

No doubt you have been on interstate highways.  Which ones have you traveled on?  Which interstate is nearest to your community?  Though you may have ridden on the interstates, have you ever had a train ride?  Or a ride on a canal boat?


Any nation as large as the United States has a great variety of climates.  Maps can demonstrates this variety.  For example, the map above shows the average annual number of hours of sunshine in the United States.  You can see how the amount of sunshine differs from one part of the country to another.  The amount of sunshine a region receives affects its climate.  Which regions of the United States have the most sunshine?  which have the least?

On the map above, note the area of very low annual precipitation, that is, moisture falling to earth as rain, snow, hail, sleet, or mist.  For many years in the nineteenth century, this area in the West was labeled on maps The Great American Desert.  It was thought to be almost unfit for human settlement.  And yet today this area supports millions of people.  What changes, do you think, took place so that people could live there?

The Many Uses of Maps
People who make maps are known as cartographers.  They make a useful product.  The maps will help to teach you how the United States began, how it grew, and how it got to be the nation it is today.

Maps are a part of our lives.  There are many other uses of maps.  Drivers taking long-distance trips depend on road maps.  There are state maps, city maps, maps of fairgrounds, maps of the world, and even maps of our universe.  The seating plan of a theater, a baseball park, or a football stadium is a kind of map.  A collection of maps is called an atlas.

* * * * *
Stay tune for Chapter 1 Tools for Study History: Using Tables and Graphs tomorrow!

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  1. Its always good to learn about something.

  2. Is it Monday already yet?

    1. No not yet and its only Saturday, Paul.

  3. There's so much to read this post and looking forward for the 2nd part of it or the last part.

  4. I have put this post in the FUN MEDIA so if any of you want to go back and read this post, it's in the FUN MEDIA tab so go check it out!

    SLEEPY HOLLOW updates will resume in two or three days on a Monday!

    1. Thank you!

      Thank you!

      I've miss the updates really bad and that cliffhanger on page 4 bugs me more and I'm ready for page 5.