Kansas and the Dakotas

Physical Characteristics

Dark, rich soil; long, hot summers and at least 20 inches of precipitation; and relatively flat land throughout has resulted in an abundance of agriculture. Endless fields and pasture and some wooded hills are mainly the landscape. Differing climates and soil condition throughout, though all are used for agriculture. Deposits of iron ore and coal are plenty, leading to steel in abundance. Surrounds the Great Lakes and many major rivers, along with the rail way system, meaning easy and fast access to transportation.


Life is mainly dominated by agriculture. Many people moved to the cities though, because of an improvement in machinery, less need of workers, and lower wages in farming. Even jobs in the city are linked to agriculture, as farming output has increased along with technology, people are still needed to process, record, transport and advertise the produce. In the 1800s farming moved up from small family enterprises to large industries capable of growing crops on a massive scale. In 1834, Cyrus McCormick gave farmers a fast and efficient way to harvest their large amounts of crops and kickstarted the mechanization of farming. Steel, manufacturing, and the automobile industry sprung up in the Midwest as well and influenced the culture greatly. The population of the Midwest is 67,745,108; with one-third of it consisting of farmers while the rest is clustered around major cities.

Starting in the early 1800s easterners moved there in search of better farmland, and soon Europeans bypassed the East Coast to migrate directly to the interior: Germans to eastern Missouri, Swedes and Norwegians to Wisconsin and Minnesota. The region's fertile soil made it possible for farmers to produce abundant harvests of cereal crops such as wheat, oats, and corn. The region was soon known as the nation's breadbasket.

Midwesterners are praised as being open, forward, and straightforward. Their politics tend to be cautious, but the caution is sometimes peppered with protest. The Midwest gave birth to one of America's two major political parties, the Republican Party which was formed in the 1850s to oppose the spread the spread of slavery into new states. At the turn of the century, the region also spawned the Progressive Movement which largely consisted of farmers and merchants intent on making government less corrupt and more receptive to the will of the people. Perhaps because of their geographic location, many midwesterners have been strong adherents of isolationism, the belief that Americans should not concern themselves with foreign wars and problems.


Most jobs in the Midwest are related to agriculture or industry in some way. Business activities center on dairies or on grain elevators used for loading, cleaning, mixing and storing grain. The tallest office buildings in Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Omaha are homes to companies whose names appear on flour bags and feed sacks. Radio stations broadcast reports from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, the largest agriculture market and grain exchange. The auto industry is also centered in the midwest, along the steel-making Industry and others. All the goods are mainly transported by water routes or railways. In urban areas theres are plenty of jobs, but their sources are in the rural areas, where there are few jobs with lower wages and almost nothing but farms.

the dakotas

North Dakota

With a population of 739,482; the entirety of North Dakota has less people in it than Austin, Texas. It is currently a republican lead state. The state is governed under its 1889 constitution, often amended. The legislature consists of 49 senators and 98 representatives. The governor is elected for a four-year term. North Dakota elects two U.S. senators and one representative; it has three electoral votes. orth Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state. The town of Rugby is the geographical center of North America. A rock obelisk about 15 feet tall, flanked by poles flying the United States and Canadian flags marks the location. An attempt to drop the word North from the state name was defeated by the 1947 Legislative Assembly. Again in 1989 the Legislature rejected two resolutions intended to rename the state Dakota

South dakota

South Dakota has a slightly larger population than its northern counterpart, at 853,175 people. This state is mostly republican.South Dakota is governed under its 1889 constitution. The legislature consists of 35 senators and 70 representatives, all elected for two-year terms. The governor is elected for four years. The state sends one U.S. representative and two senators to the U.S. Congress and has three electoral votes.Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are sculpted into Mount Rushmore the world's greatest mountain carving. Jewel Cave is the third-longest cave in the world. More than 120 miles of passages have been surveyed. Calcite crystals that glitter when illuminated give the cave its name.With more than 82 miles of mapped passages, Wind Cave contains the world's largest display of a rare formation called boxwork. The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world's largest sculpture (563' high, 641' long, carved in the round). It is the focal point of an educational and cultural memorial to and for the North American Indian. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.The largest underground gold mine is the Homestake Mine in Lead



Kansas has a much larger population of 2.904 million. It's traditionally a republican majority.Government in Kansas is based on the constitution of 1859, adopted just before Kansas attained statehood. An elected governor serves a term of four years. The legislature has a senate with 40 members and a house of representatives with 125 members. Kansas is represented in the U.S. Congress by four representatives and two senators and has six electoral votes in presidential elections. South of Ashland the Rock Island Bridge is the longest railroad bridge of its kind. It measures 1,200 feet long and is 100 feet above the Cimarron River. Dodge City is the windiest city in the United States.At one time it was against the law to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas.The first woman mayor in the United States was Susan Madora Salter. She was elected to office in Argonia in 1887. Amelia Earhart, first woman granted a pilot's license by the National Aeronautics Associate and first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean was from Atchison.Dwight D. Eisenhower from Abilene was the 34th President of the United States.


~World Geography Textbook