Natural Barriers and Features

  • The continental United States is flanked by two oceans. The Atlantic to the east and the Pacific to the west. These oceans contributed the most to the United State's foreign policy through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
  • America's foreign policy of isolationism during much of the 18th century was due mainly because of the these oceans.
  • US commerce (trade) was possible because of the natural, deep harbors in the US. (Boston, NYC, etc)
  • Before the Revolutionary War the western border of the British settlements (colonies) was the Appalachian Mountains
  • One common characteristic of the early colonial settlements is that they formed and developed on the coastline.
    • Jamestown 1607
    • Plymouth 1620
    • New Amsterdam 1625 (Later NY 1644)

New England Colonies

  • Great harbors
  • Large, dense forests
  • Rocky soil, short growing season
  • Geography (rocky soil, great harbors) influenced their economic activity related to trade and manufacturing.
  • Lots of fishermen. Few small farms.
  • Villages grew and town hall meetings developed.

Southern Colonies

  • Fertile land, long growing season
  • Greatly impacted the US economic growth
  • Agricultural products grown in the south were sent north for processing or traded to Europe.
  • Cotton - huge
  • Large plantations grew. Slavery increased.

The Great Plains

  • Located between the Rocky Mountains (to the west) and the Mississippi River (to the east).
  • Flat, grassy land
  • Great farmland