Oil Discovery And Development In Alaska

Alaska History Essay #5

The Russians were the first non-natives to notice oil seepages in Alaska. But they were more focused on furs and other natural resources and made no attempt to develop the potential that Alaska had to produce oil.  America didn’t pay attention to the oil in Alaska for years after they acquired the land.

The first claims on oil were in 1890. They were unsuccessful because the wells couldn’t pump enough oil and the oil was mixed with seawater. The first productive oil operation was in 1900. The wells were drilled at Katalla on the Gulf of Alaska. They were able to get oil but the investors who were financing the wells pulled out and forced the operation to shut down. In 1911 in the same area new wells were drilled, they produced a steady amount of oil but the transportation cost was very high. So the owners built an oil refinery on sight and they shipped the refined oil to Cordova. This successful operation lasted until 1933 when a fire destroyed the refinery.

These early operations provide a good example of the problems that producing oil in Alaska present. The most important obstacle being the cost of transporting the oil to market.

In 1921 a lot of new oil operations were started. But they didn’t last to long because oil discoveries in Texas made oil too cheap to be worth getting from Alaska. So Alaskan oil took a back seat to the more readily available oil in Texas.

Oil became more important in Alaska in the 1950’s and in 1957 the first major commercial well was drilled by Richfield Oil Company which was based out of California. The site produced 900 barrels of oil a day and was very successful.

In 1967, ten years later, the ARCO (a merger of Richfield Oil, Humble Oil, and Atlantic Oil) discovered oil at Prudhoe Bay. It turned out to be the biggest oil field in North America. The North Slope as it is know now produces 850,000 barrels of oil per day. In 1974 the trans-Alaska oil pipeline was constructed to cut the cost of transporting oil.

Ever since the discover of oil on the North Slope, it has been a very important part of Alaska’s economy.  Oil is the most profitable industry in Alaska today.


Governing Alaska

Alaska History Essay #4

America bought Alaska from Russia in 1867. After the sale though, the government paid little attention to Alaska, it was put on the backburner in the aftermath of the Civil War and other more pressing matters. So for the first seventeen years after the sale, Alaska had no laws or government, the only thing that brought any resemblance of government to Alaska was the Military.

In 1884 the population of Alaska had begun to grow and Congress passed the First Organic Act as a way to provide a government other than the U.S. Military presence. The new law provided Alaska with a bare bones government. It gave Alaska a district court, a governor, and perhaps most importantly an U.S. Marshal. The First Organic Act also stated that Alaska would follow the laws that Oregon operated under.

Between 1890 and 1900 the population of Alaska doubled. This increase in population put pressure on the government to allow the 63,592 people of Alaska some representation in government. In 1906 Alaska was allowed one non-voting member of the House of Representatives.

WWII was a very important time in the development of Alaska. It brought more military and more people to the state. It also forced the government to build roads and be more involved with Alaska.

Finally in 1058 Alaska was granted Statehood after being a territory of America for almost a hundred years.


If I Was Writing An Autobiography About Living in the Woods Would I Spend More Time Describing A Loon Or An Ant War?

English Essay #25

I would for sure write more about an ant war than a loon. I think that ants are interesting to watch. I have never seen two armies of ants fight and so I think it would be more unique than just a description of a bird that a lot of people have seen.

An aunt war has a lot more room for imagination and description than a loon. You can tell mini stories about the courage and daring of specific ants. It would be much easier to spend a lot of pages describing a battle of ants without getting boring or repetitive than it would be with a description of a loon.

Overall I think that ants and battles are both more interesting than loons. A battle, even if it is made up of ants, is much more complicated and intriguing than a bird sitting alone on a lake.

Is It Important For The Author Of An Autobiography To Summarize His Philosophy Of Life In An Early Chapter?

English Essay #24

This is an interesting question. I don’t think that there is a simple yes or no answer. It depends very much on who is writing it and what they want to get across to the reader. How the autobiography is structured is also important.

There are many reasons that people write an autobiography and why it is written will likely effect whether or not the author should include a summary of his philosophy or beliefs. For example there are many autobiographies by people who were slaves before the Civil War. One major reason that they wrote their stories down was to show how evil the slave system was. But the authors of theses books didn’t need to include their philosophy because it was obvious that a slave would be against slavery. Usually though, if you are writing an autobiography to convince people of something you should tell them early what you believe. Most autobiographies need an explanation of some part of the author’s beliefs.

You don’t need to summarize your whole philosophy on life in your book though. That would no doubt be a boring read. Every writer should just include what is relevant to their narrative. A list of a ton of random beliefs and opinions would be both boring and might get annoying  to the reader. If you are writing an autobiography to show how hard work pays off you should mention you believe that early, and who or what taught you that. But you don’t need to much more than that.

Some autobiographies are about how someone’s worldview was changed. In this case the author should provide a brief summery of his original beliefs and he should also give examples of his philosophy in action. Then he can tell his story of change.

Most Autobiographies need some part of the author’s philosophy made clear. The important thing is putting in what is applicable and not including useless information.

Would Walden Have Been Better?

English Essay #23

Walden is the autobiography of Henry Thoreau which talks about his time living the “simple life” at Walden Pond. So far it is not very good. He spends very little time describing his life at Walden Pond. Most of his time he spends spouting random ideas which may sound wise, but if you look at them closer you see that they are a collection of illogical garbage packaged into rhetoric. He thinks of himself as a philosopher, but he doesn’t even know what he believes. He regularly says something and them turns right around and contradicts himself on the next page. So would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had provided more of his own backstory?

I think that it could make it better, maybe. Putting in some of his own history might explain why he thinks what he thinks. But it most likely wouldn’t fix the book. After all the book isn’t really about him it is about his shack. His childhood would most likely just seem out of context. Also knowing more about him would not likely explain his ideas. Most of his ideas are not explained all the way and don’t make sense, which is the chief problem of the book, and knowing his history would most likely not add much. It probably wouldn’t tell why he says that only great poets can understand the writing of great poets.

Henry Thoreau’s backstory could do one great thing for the book though. It could provide a break from all the meaningless rhetoric! It might end up being the most entertaining part of the whole book. Walden is a constant flow of half baked ideas which shouldn’t have been put in the oven in the first place, it gets very tiring and a change of pace would be welcome.

He seems like a snob who thinks that society is not good enough for him. Knowing his history and childhood might shed more light on his character and why it is the way it is, which could be interesting.

So adding context and personal history would add a lot. It would most likely be entertaining, and shed light on him as a person. While it would make the book a little more enjoyable it would not fix the main problem with the whole thing. Adding more to his story would probably make it better, but it would still be the same bad  book.



Was Thoreau Dependent on The Division of Labor While He Lived At Walden’s Pond?

English Essay # 22

Henry David Thoreau wrote a book about the twenty-six months that he spent in the “nature” living the “simple” life. Thoreau lived from 1817 to 1862 and wrote in his book that he didn’t approve of modern life. He believed that all of the luxuries society enjoyed were useless and undeserved. He claimed that he believed people should go live the “simple” life in nature. In his book, Henry Thoreau repeatedly attacked the whole idea of the division of labor.  Thoreau made it clear that part of the reason for his twenty-six month experiment was to escape the division of labor. So did he escape the division of labor which he claimed  to so strongly despise?

He did not. First off he was talking about how every man should be independent and  self sufficient, but he lived a mile from his neighbors and only two miles from his mother! He said he built his shack on Walden Pond himself in order to be independent from the division of labor but he wasn’t. He used nails that he didn’t forge, tools he didn’t make, and he got help from neighbors in the house raising. The vary shack he lived in was a product of a system he claimed to oppose.

So was his food. He used seeds that he bought from the near by village to grow food. Henry even rented a horse and plow. He also bought rice, and a whole list of other ingredients that he couldn’t grow. He did fish for some of his dinners but even that indirectly was part of the division of labor because he had to buy fishing tackle in order to fish.

Thoreau was very reliant on society to help him survive. He also went into town at least twice a week to get supplies and socialize. He visited his mother often, everything that he enjoyed while in town or at his mother’s was a direct result of the division of labor.

Everything around him in his little cabin, from furniture to silverware, was a product of society in some way or another. If you have to use money at all you are fundamentally connected to the division of labor, Henry Thoreau most certainly used money. He has many detailed lists in his book about what he bought and what it cost him, in money. Money is a basic part of the division on labor which he hated.

There is no question that Henry David Thoreau was not free from the division of labor. He may have criticized the way society works at a fundamental level, but he was unable to change it or even escape it for two years.

America’s Territory

Alaska History Essay #3

Before Russia sold Alaska to America a Russian geologist named Petr Doroshin reported finding gold on the Kenai Peninsula. That was in 1848 at the same time as the California gold rush so it took a while for anyone to get interested in Alaska’s gold. The first real rush for gold in Alaska happened in 1872, twenty-four years after the original discovery of gold.

Gold played a huge part in Alaska’s history. There were many gold strikes all over the state from 1872 to the early 1900’s. The three biggest gold fields in Alaska were Juneau, Nome and Fairbanks. The gold strike in the Tanana Hills in 1902 lead to the founding of Fairbanks, which over the years became the biggest and most profitable of all the Northern gold fields.

Gold has was very important to the construction of Alaska. It brought more people to the state than any other industry. It was instrumental in the founding of many towns and cities, and it forced the government to build roads and provide other necessary services.

Another thing that has effected Alaska greatly has been the Military. The Military built many bases in Alaska over the years, and brought plenty of people as well. Many service members who have been stationed in Alaska end up retiring their. The bases the Military have built, have created towns. And during World War II the Military build roads to help them in their effort of fortifying Alaska.

There have been many important industries in Alaska’s history, trapping, fishing, caning, and oil. But the most important to Alaska’s development by far was gold.