Short Paragraph on Geography!
Geography as a subject in the American schools and colleges was diffused by the Europeans in the middle of the last century.
In some of the universities like Harvard, Dartmouth, Mary, Yale, Columbia, Princeton and Pennsylvania, courses in mathematical, physical and historical geography were given as early as 1795.
Arnold Guyot of Princeton, was the first Professor of Geography in America. Guyot was a follower of Ritter, a teleologist, and his teleological viewpoint, considered the continents as the abode of man, and the theatre for the action of human societies.
Guyot’s view of the role of man on the earth had a great influence on the attitudes of his era through many of his school textbooks. Guyot was a student of the physical world. He explored the Appalachian mountains for over thirty years, and made some 12,000 observations and collected meteorological data. His philosophical approach was in conformity with that of Carl Ritter.
In 1870, physical geography was started at Harvard in the Department of Natural History. In 1878, William Morris Davis—an eminent geologist and geomorphologist—became an Assistant Professor of Geography. Moreover, the American Geographical Society was started in 1851.
Shaler was a distinguished geologist at the Harvard University. William Morris Davis was one of his pupils. Shaler wrote Nature and Man in America. In this book, he discussed “the effect of physical conditions of the earth on the development of organic life in general with special emphasis on the origin, and character of the relief and climate”. The second-half of his book discusses geographic influences upon man and the way in which geographic features have controlled settlements. “Virtually all thinking at this time adopted the view that the life of man on the earth was ordained by the offerings of the physical environment.” It is against this background that Davis, a geologist, emerges in the first quarter of this century as the main founder of modern geography in America.