Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Miner Chapter 1: Child of the Grassy Plains

First, in my opinion the first chapter should have been entitled “The Keepers of the Gates of Hell”, what a vivid image only to find out that it is used to refer to meteorologist stationed in Kansas City.

The first chapter of Miner’s book does exactly what one would expect a book covering the History of Kansas would do in the offset. It goes through the sketchy early history of the state when it was first settled by Native Americans up through the mid nineteenth century. The fist half of the chapter also covers some of the basic geographical features of the state. This includes the general make up of the state, major vegetation patterns and a lot of discussion of the weather in the state. Minor also makes references to some of the resources in Kansas while making it clear that Kansas actually has a lot of diversity.

The second half of the chapter hits on the Europeans entrance into Kansas history. From there the chapters discusses the Indians and there removal from the east to Kansas and then quickly dives into the territorial issues of Kansas after the Kansas Nebraska Act. This inevitably brings up the issue of slavery with those supporting the peculiar institution while the Emigrant Aid Companies were organizing anti-slavery forces.

One of the items I thought about as far as using the material in class was the following question: How did national policies effect early Kansas and how did Kansas effect national policies. Many of my students look at history a items, famous people and big events that happen but they really don’t think how these events effect the common man. Using Kansas history in this context could be beneficial.

Favorite lines from the chapter:

“Shall there be schools of Ohio, or ignorance of Tennessee?”

“They often seem to be people from another time . . . who just happen to find themselves surfaced in an era of X-rated movies, the Internal Revenue Service, Styrofoam burger boxes and nuclear medicine”

“It would be untrue to classify together the Egyptian, the Indian, and the Central American, as to speak of the Kansan man without distinguishing between the Eastern Kansan, the Central Kansan and the Western Kansan.”

And from the introduction:

“the largest, longest running agricultural and environmental miscalculation in American History”


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