Why Study Ancient Geography? Because it impacts how we live today! How a late cretaceous sea coast affects voter turnouts in presidential elections

How Did This Happen? In a sea of red counties, a belt of blue. How can we account for this string of counties voting so differently than their neighbors?

2008 Presidential Election county results
139-65 Million years ago: the Cretaceous Coastline in North America

The Answer: A Late Cretaceous sea coast from 139-65 Million Years Ago!

Sea Coasts produced very rich, fertile soil where the water meets the land. Millions of years later, this rich soil was highly sought after by farmers and plantation owners in the American South, where they forced African slaves to work the land.

A majority of the US felt pretty strongly that this type of forced labor was abhorrent; they fought a war over it (talk to your history teacher!). Following the Civil War, a large amount of these former slaves stayed in the areas in which they were previously enslaved: ie the American South.

Cotton Production (by Bale) in 1859. Cotton was a labor intensive crop to produce and involved a large amount of slave labor.

The Contemporary American political landscape reflects this post Civil War population: A direct result of the Cretaceous Sea Coast and the fertile soils it produced. The "Blue Bent" of Democrat voters is only fully understood thanks to paleogeography!

What about in Kansas? Has the Cretaceous Sealine affected the economy or politics here? Absolutely!

Zoom in of Kansas from 139-65 Million Years Ago

The Cretaceous Coastline in Kansas produced a swampy bog-like environment in the eastern half of what is now Kansas. Over millions of years, swampy environments produce a unique type of geologic formation: Anthrocite Coal!

Coal production in Kansas brought a lot of people to southeast Kansas in the 19th Century. Those people brought labor unions, progressive political ideals, feminism, and newspapers. Coal changed the political landscape of Kansas! Thanks to the Cretaceous Sea Coast! In fact, women in Kansas broke down traditional gender roles, and claimed a lot of the political power that had previously been denied to them by striking the coal companies alongside their husbands in 1921

Much of the economic, social, and political landscape of the United States today is the result of the ancient landscape of the Cretaceous Era. By studying Paleogeography, and applying what we've learned to the world around us, we get a better sense of where we are, and where we come from.

Created By
Greg Cotter
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