The Growth of the United States
January 22, 2003 2:15 AM   Subscribe

The Growth of the United States: a ten-minute, animated atlas (via The Noodle Incident).
posted by timeistight (18 comments total)
Very cool, even though they've made vancouver Island an isthmus.
posted by timeistight at 2:16 AM on January 22, 2003

Wow - I think that's the best history lesson I've seen in a long time.
posted by Irontom at 4:03 AM on January 22, 2003

In mentioning the fallout from wars and [droll] other forms of diplomacy [/droll], I think they overlooked the Trust Territories (Johnston, Wake, Saipan etc.) and most significantly the Canal Zone.
posted by alumshubby at 4:17 AM on January 22, 2003

Thanks, just the right amount of info for a foreigner. I didn't know half this stuff. A small chronology of finnish history.
posted by lazy-ville at 4:32 AM on January 22, 2003

Thanks timeistight, until 10 minutes ago I was almost completely ignorant of US history. This has filled in a lot of gaps.
posted by chill at 4:51 AM on January 22, 2003

Nice, this really was a good primer! Should be mandatory for all students at least once in the US.
posted by CrazyJub at 4:57 AM on January 22, 2003

It's sad that U.S. high school history books simply lay out history as a boring narrative, a foreordained story of progress and improvement without the ideas that mattered. Today I was reading the powerful words of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown. Lincoln was such a master orator. American politicians today simply can't match him. Read Lincoln's Second Inaugural and imagine Bush or Gore trying to deliver it.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:17 AM on January 22, 2003

FYI: Many, many aboriginal people of the Plains and elsewhere would take extreme issue with this narrative. This is not their view of history.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:43 AM on January 22, 2003

Aside: For those who have seen Bowling for Columbine, who produced the "cartoon history of whites in America?" It seemed familiar -- has it appeared anywhere else?
posted by mrmcsurly at 6:53 AM on January 22, 2003

What a great link! *Dusts off that old copy of CivIII*
posted by ssmith at 6:59 AM on January 22, 2003

lupus_yonderboy: Could you please explain. Do you think that the video didn't address that issue, or were there some factual errors. They did mention the indian wars and that they were driven off by force.
posted by lazy-ville at 7:02 AM on January 22, 2003

[This is good]
posted by gwint at 8:21 AM on January 22, 2003

Wow, nicely done. Even "little" details such as as the region now know as Maine highlighting as part of Massachussetts when you pan over it prior to 1820 are included. (Maybe nobody else cares about this, it's just because I'm a Mainer that I do!)

Great link, timeistight :)
posted by nelleish at 8:58 AM on January 22, 2003

[This is good]2

Thanks timeistight, also enjoyed the Finnish chronology, lazy-ville.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2003

There are a lot of little details, such as the evolution of the Indian Territory (now eastern Oklahoma) and its changing boundaries. If you click on it around 1840 (easily accopmlished by using the nifty red slidebar at the bottom), you get a popup with the Indian Territory in its earliest incarnation, with little tiny dates for (what I assume was) their assignment as reservations. Fast-forward to 1860 and click on the Territory, and the popup map now reflects the new boundaries and the loss of the northern panhandle to the Kansas Territory. The names of the "Five Civilized Tribes" are also superimposed on their various areas of resettlement. Going further to 1890, and we see not only that the western part of the Indian Territory has been eaten away, but that many other tribes have claimed or been assigned areas, and that the lines between them are now well-defined. Each of these popups is accessible during its own period in the main narrative. Popups also mention Midway Island and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, as well as the guerrilla war in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.

Yes, many details were left out (such as the circumstances that led to the annexation of Hawaii - American landowners overthrew the Hawaiian Queen in a coup and lobbied the U.S. government to annex the islands), but others were placed in side pockets waiting to be discovered. It does feel vaguely as though some unexamined assumptions are being habitually indulged (i.e. that Colombus "discovered" Cuba, or that the Spaniards settled Texas rather than the indigenous people who were already living there), and that's a bit annoying. Also, something tells me this project is not yet complete - when hovered over and clicked, but only New York City (and the tri-state region) has its own popup so far. All in all, a good beginning primer on the history of American territorial expansion.
posted by skoosh at 5:16 PM on January 22, 2003

Great overview, well done, thanks timeistight.

In looking at the years running along the bottom of the map, and listening to event unfold, I was struck by how young the U.S. is, how relatively recent so many of these event were! Five of the states haven't even been states for a full century yet.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:09 PM on January 22, 2003

Five of the states haven't even been states for a full century yet. - madam jujujive
I come from California, which joined the United States about the same time my in-laws' house (wooden) was built here in Kyoto.

I recently read a comment on Mefi about how N Korea's ire toward Japan and missile flyover of a few years ago were illogical because they represented grudges for things that occurred decades ago. This is western thinking, specifically American, about time. It may realistically take a few centuries to defuse Japan-Korea(s)-China tensions as power dynamics shift, but of course new rivalries and grudges and power struggles will appear.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:16 AM on January 23, 2003

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