By William B. Meyer
This revealing publication synthesizes study from many fields to supply the 1st whole historical past of the jobs performed via climate and weather in American lifestyles from colonial instances to the current. writer William B. Meyer characterizes climate occasions as impartial phenomena which are inherently neither dangers nor assets, yet can develop into both reckoning on the actions with which they have interaction. Meyer files the ways that other forms of climate all through historical past have represented dangers and assets not just for such uncovered open air ambitions as agriculture, battle, transportation, building, and sport, yet for different nation-states of existence starting from production to migration to human health and wellbeing. He issues out that whereas the elements and weather through themselves have by no means decided the process human occasions, their value as been continually altered for greater and for worse via the evolution of yank lifestyles.
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Farming in the North should have been more labor-intensive than in the South. In fact, it was the South that specialized heavily in labor-demanding plantation staples and the North in grains that required less effort and attention. Within the South, too, labor should have been more intense in the cooler uplands than on the hotter seacoast. Again the opposite was true. The hunting, corn, and livestock economy that prevailed in the eighteenth-century southern backcountry was far less toilsome than the cash-crop regime of the steamy tidewater.
That it happened to be black slaves on whom the burden came chiefly to rest lent itself readily to an extension of the idea: that they were suited by their ancestry to labor in heat and humidity that whites of European descent could not stand. 31 It justified a system of labor whose real origins lay elsewhere. Agricultural history gives no support to the thesis that climate stamped the South as a land of laziness. No more does it support the myth that that climate was essentially a richer resource than the North's.
The weather also controlled the grinding of grain and the sawing of wood, largely done by waterpower that ran short in droughts; all overseas and most interregional trade, entirely dependent on the wind for propulsion; and shorter-distance movement, sensitive to what the weather did to the roads or the rivers. The many obstacles to swift and reliable transportation and communication by road or sail or riverboat made business a thing of many delays and hazards and uncertainties and necessarily leisurely in pace.
Americans and Their Weather by William B. Meyer