Within the heartland of the United States of America lies a state that is a beacon
of the Midwest cultural experience. Since its foundation as a state in 1861, this state has had profound impact on a plethora of issues within the typical American life. The state is Kansas and it is a testament of the American aura. Whether a person looks at the historical, economic, demographic or political impact this state has on America, the fact remains that Kansas is in a class by itself. That is why it is so important to examine exactly how this state has an impact upon America. States should be considered any less important than other states. That is why it is important to analyze, and determine, the attributes that the great State of Kansas provides to the United States.
First, the historical attributes of the State of Kansas should be analyzed. It is extremely important to not that Native American tribes inhabited the plains of Kansas for centuries before Americans settled in the State. It was not until the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado explored the area in 1541 that the Kansas plains began to be viewed by certain Eurpoean nations as a great land mass to obtain.
However, nothing was accomplished for nearly 300 years in the way of making progress to obtain the land. In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase occurred and as a result most of modern Kansas was obtained by the United State government. In 1848, at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, the remainder portion of Kansas was secured and on January 29, 1861 Kansas was admitted as the 34th free state into the Union. (“Early Explorations and Expeditions”).
The second item that should be examined is the topographic and climate attributes the Kansas holds. Generally speaking, the State is fairly flat. This is a fact supported by topographic research performed by at Southwest Texas University, who determined the State of Kansas is actually flatter than the surface of a pancake. Next, the Missouri River is one of the primary tributaries within the State. Furthermore, this river forms 75 miles of the State’s northeastern border. Other rivers traveling/contained within the State include Arkansas River, Colorado River, and the Kansas River. (“Kansas”)
The climate of the State of Kansas is temperate, however, in terms of extremities; it can be at both ends of the spectrum depending upon the season. Generally, the State receives approximately 25 inches of rain annually and is vulnerable to storms and tornadoes. As a result, Kansas receives nearly 50 tornadoes annually. (“Kansas”).
The third item that should be addressed is demographics throughout the State. To begin looking into the demographics, the governmental structure should be looked into. However, when looking into the governmental structure it is important to begin with the State’s executive branch and start with the Governor.
Kansas’ governor is a woman named Kathleen Sebelius. She was the 44th governor of the State who is currently serving a second term. According to the Governor’s website, the following was stated about her first term and the initiatives that were considered to be of great importance for the Governor’s office:
“A hallmark of Sebelius’ first term was the historic commitment made to Kansas schoolchildren, as well as audits to ensure those resources were being spent effectively. She also led efforts to create jobs and improve the safety and security of Kansans. These initiatives continue in her second term, with helping more families afford health insurance and taking advantage of Kansas’ opportunities in renewable energy being key priorities as well.” (“Kathleen Sebelius – Brief Biography”).
The next item to examine is the Kansas State Legislature’s make-up. The State House of representatives has 125 members, while the senate has 40 members. Currently, the state senate and legislature is out of session, but will reconvene January 14, 2008 to begin its new session.
The final issue to examine, regarding demographics, is the percentage of the state’s general racial make-up. The following chart breaks down the percentage of Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Alaskans/Native Americans, and Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders:
|Demographics of Kansas|
|AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native – NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander|
|2000 (total population)||91.19%||6.41%||1.78%||2.10%||0.12%|
|2000 (Hispanic only)||6.63%||0.23%||0.19%||0.05%||0.02%|
|2005 (total population)||90.87%||6.60%||1.67%||2.45%||0.12%|
|2005 (Hispanic only)||7.89%||0.28%||0.20%||0.06%||0.02%|
|Growth 2000-2005 (total population)||1.74%||5.04%||-4.13%||19.15%||3.43%|
|Growth 2000-2005 (non-Hispanic only)||0.19%||4.28%||-5.09%||19.19%||2.86%|
|Growth 2000-2005 (Hispanic only)||21.51%||25.88%||3.71%||17.69%||5.86%|
Finally, as with all states, issues arise that has an impact on everyone within that state. In Kansas education, school safety, and the State’s National Guard seem to take priority.
For the education issue, the Governor has been quite explicit in her goals to achieve an excellent quality of education for all of the students within the State. In fact, the Governor has committed to early learning education and the evolvement of it. In a 2007 press release, the Governor stated:
“…too many children are entering those schools without the basic skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, which is why we need a national commitment to early learning efforts such as pre-k. This national problem was brought home to Kansas policymakers by a recent survey of teachers here which revealed that less than half of children start kindergarten fully ready to learn. This isn’t just an issue here – it’s a national problem.”(“Nation Needs Commitment to Early Learning.”)
Therefore, the issue of education tends to be extremely important within the Governor’s, and the State’s governmental agenda.
The issue of school safety also tends to take priority. In press releases from 2006 and 2007, the Governor thought it worthy to publish school safety initiatives and tips on two separate occasions. This act, in and of itself, coming from a governor is a testament of just how important an issue school violence and school safety is.
Finally, the issue of the State’s National Guard is also at issue within Kansas. Right now, the State is attempting to raise money through contributions to bring the troops home from the Middle East so they may celebrate Christmas with their families. Furthermore, the Governor published an article regarding the importance of respecting the troop’s service. In the month of December, 2007 the National Guard takes a front seat with the State’s agenda, as the Kansas deems their service of the utmost importance.
In conclusion, the State of Kansas is on of diversity and similarity at the same time. The State is diverse, in that, it has different issues, demographics, and historical facts that make it what it is, but it is similar through the fact that all States are diverse in the aforementioned areas. However, it is important to remember that those items are what make the United States the melting pot it is, and the sundry of ideas it has the potential to continue to be, for centuries to come.
Cutler, William. “Early Explorations and Expeditions.” History of the State of Kansas.
- A.T. Andreas. 11 Dec 2007 <http://www.kancoll.org/books/cutler/>.
“Kansas.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 11 Dec.
“Kathleen Sebelius – Brief Biography.” Governor Kathleen Sebelius Biography. April 20,
- State of Kansas. 11 Dec 2007 <http://www.governor.ks.gov/about/ bio.htm>.
“Nation Needs Commitment to Early Learning.” May 23, 2007. State of Kansas. 11 Dec