Iowa Past to Present
The People and the Prairie, Revised Third Edition
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Iowa Press
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The Study of History
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The ability to tell stories makes human beings different from all other living creatures. Every nation has remembered its history by telling stories over and over. These stories tell what happened yesterday and the day before. They explain how people and places have changed and developed. ...
1. The Changing Land
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In 1835 Lieutenant Albert Lea was traveling through eastern Iowa in search of a good location for a fort. Lea kept a journal and afterward wrote a book describing the area. Notes on . . . the Iowa District or Black Hawk Purchase was one of the first books about the prairies. It was also the first time that the region ...
2. American Indians: The Earliest People in Iowa
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The story of the people who have lived in what is now called Iowa goes back for thousands of years. Many different American Indian groups have hunted on the prairies and in the woodlands and planted gardens along the rivers and streams. While each tribe had its own way of doing some things, they were alike in many ways. ...
3. Many Flags over Iowa
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Many streams flow together to make Iowa history. One is the history of the American Indian people who have lived in the region for thousands of years. Another is the story of explorers and settlers from Europe and their descendants whose stay in Iowa has been shorter. The first Europeans came only about three hundred years ago. ...
4. Pioneers on the Prairie
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In the nineteenth century, thousands of people left the East to establish new homes in the West. At first they settled in states like Ohio and Indiana, but by the 1830s settlers were moving into Iowa. Soon after their arrival, the newcomers wrote letters to friends and relatives back East telling them about Iowa’s fertile soil. ...
5. Pioneer Life on the Prairie
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The first job for the earliest settlers on the Iowa prairie was to build a house. If there was enough wood, they would build a log cabin. Otherwise, they learned how to make a snug sod house. There were few stores where pioneers could buy supplies, so families had to make or grow almost everything they needed. First the pioneers had to ...
6. Rivers, Trails, and Train Tracks: Transportation in the 1800s
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How to get to Iowa was a problem for people planning to come here in the 1800s. The first settlers traveled on steamboats and stagecoaches and even walked from eastern states. Later, in the 1850s and 1860s, they were able to travel on railroads. Once people had settled the land and started farming, they needed ways ...
7. A Nation Divided
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We know that slavery was one reason why people fought the war. Southern people owned about four million black (African-American) slaves in 1860. Southerners believed that there was nothing wrong with owning slaves and even that it was the proper way to live. Slavery was partly why eleven southern states left the Union (United States) ...
8. Settlers from Many Lands
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Throughout Iowa’s history, the state has attracted immigrants from all over the world—Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. The first settlers wanted to buy land and become farmers. Later immigrants often found jobs in factories and stores. Because of our immigrant history, Iowa is home to people of many different backgrounds. ...
9. Providing a Government
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As Americans began settling on lands west of the Mississippi River, they needed to set up a government. There had to be laws and officers to enforce them. The settlers wanted to send representatives to speak for them in Congress. They also needed help on projects at home, like building roads and setting up schools. ...
10. Schools for a New State
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The Puritans, who came to New England from England in 1630, strongly believed in education. First, they thought that everyone must read the Bible, which they held to be the word of God. They also believed that learning to read made people more willing to work. Not working was viewed as being lazy, and to the Puritans, ...
11. Keeping the Faith on the Frontier
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Settlers came to Iowa from other parts of America and from Europe, where they had been members of many different churches. Some belonged to no church at all. With such different religious beliefs and customs, there might have been tensions and struggles, but for the most part, disagreements were settled peacefully. ...
12. Experiments in Community Living
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During the 1800s most people came to Iowa with only their own families, but some came as part of a larger group. These people were called communitarians, from the word community. Members of communitarian groups shared beliefs about how they should live and what they should believe. They settled close together. ...
13. Life on the Farm—Iowa Style
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Agriculture has always been important in Iowa, which is known throughout the nation as a major farm state. During the nineteenth century, most Iowans lived on farms. Farming is still Iowa’s most important industry, although most Iowans now live in cities and towns. Today, living on a farm is not too different from living in town, ...
14. New Inventions Bring Change
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Within the past century, new inventions have made a huge difference in the lives of Iowa families. Telephones and automobiles completely changed communication and transportation. Modern families visit friends hundreds of miles away more easily than Iowa pioneers could travel to a nearby town. Electricity changed many ways Iowans ...
15. Business and Industry in Iowa
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Iowans manufacture (make) many different products, including tractors, washing machines, and ballpoint pens. The companies that make products like these are called industries, and the buildings where they are made are called factories. The first products manufactured in our state were made within the home in the 1800s. ...
16. World War I and Hard Times After
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In 1914, a terrible war began among the major countries in the world. Although the United States tried to stay out of it, American troops joined the fighting within three years. Once American soldiers were involved, most Iowans strongly supported the war effort. Young men from Iowa farms, small towns, and cities were soon taking ...
17. Depression, Changing Times, and World War II
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The years after the First World War were a time when the new mixed with the old. Horse-drawn wagons and shiny automobiles shared the same roads. An Iowan set a speed record in an airplane. Radios brought music and news into homes, and movie theaters spread across the state. In the 1930s, however, the hard times spread ...
18. A Time of Many Changes
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The last fifty years have been important ones for Iowans. Inventions such as television, jet airplanes, and computers have changed the way we live. Many more young people are going to college. Small farms have been combined to form bigger ones. Fewer farm families work the land, rural schools have fewer students, ...
19. Iowa in the World
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As the clock approached midnight on New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1999, Iowans faced not just a new year. January 1, 2000 was also the first day of the twenty-first century. Looking back one hundred years to the year 1900, Iowans were amazed at how much the world had changed—automobiles, airplanes, electricity, television, ...
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Publication Year: 2011