You see the picture above my writing? That's me. At least it used to be. Now I'm probably just a pile of bones slowly decaying underneath the ground. If I'm dead how are you reading this, and if I'm a bird how do I know your language? Your kind, human beings, are selfish and ignorant when it comes to any species but your own. We studied you for years and learned your languages. We never revealed our knowledge for fear of being turned into lab rats, but in the end we still died. Our decline was caused from loss of habitat which led to loss of food, which then led to our death. My species lived in Carolina and this is the story of how we became extinct.
In the early days, when my species were thriving, with their bright colored feathers and beautiful bird calls, trains ran on iron rails. Soon enough steel was found, and even though it was stronger and safer to use for rails it was much more expensive, and we all know that you humans don't like to pay extra no matter the benefit. So, two brilliant men came up with an idea, the bessemer process. William Kelly and Henry Bessemer created a process which allowed for people to create strong steel at a lower cost. This was a HUGE breakthrough. Several buisness men started using this process but one man is remembered for it. His name was Andrew Carnegie. He borrowed some money, and started up his own steel mill. Eventually he started earning huge profits and created the idea of vertical integration: owning and controlling all the steps to making and selling a product, in this case steel. Before this idea was created several small businesses were thriving, but very soon after big factories were producing goods at a cheaper price than the small factories. One by one small businesses started to close down and the big businesses became famous.
It was a genius idea but several people were left without jobs because of it, and we were left with waste and a constant destruction of our environment.
Around this time a moving assembly line was invented and patented. This was very effective because employers had to pay employees much less since all they had to do is one job over and over again. Most of these jobs were very simple and it was very easy to replace people, which meant employers could pay very little. Because of the moving assembly line mass production became popular. Companies could make large quantities of things at a a faster and cheaper rate than ever before. It was an economy of consumerism in the U.S., and it just happened to work extremely well.
The low pay and horrible workplace environment would soon turn against their employers. With such low pay large groups of people decided to protest in an organized labor. One of the most famous unions was the Knights of Labor. Their president didn't believe in strikes but in meetings and rallies that asked for the public's support. The Knights of Labor where the first to have varied races and religions in their group.
My flock quite admired this time. It was a time of despair for several workers yet they chose to fight on and clung on to the hope of better days ahead.
Two of the places Americans decided to visit during their expansion were Cuba and Spain. An American ship, Maine, was bombed and the blame fell upon the Cubans. This led to military involvement in Cuba where the U.S. gained lots of resources, good land, and a comfortable place to build navy bases. Yellow journalism was created and it played a huge part in forming American opinions about wars such as the Spanish-American War in 1898. The U.S. also went to the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guyana. The president at the time, Teddy Roosevelt, used his "big stick" to show other countries his power. The Americans fought very hard against the Spanish for Cuban territory, and in the end it payed off.
Finally World War II was over! It was time for soldiers to come home to their wives. Soldiers went home and were encouraged to start families, or have more kids then before and during the war. Consuming many products was strongly approved and even suggested. It was a time of celebration and a time to rebuild the American economy. Since people were consuming more employers needed workers, so it was also a time of great productivity and job opportunities. However it was also a time of inflation. After the war prices went up and people began to complain. Luckily the G.I. bill of rights was passed allowing veterans returning from the war to find a nice home and some money in their wait.
TV Ads and posters played a huge role during this time. It was the beginning of sexism. During the wars women were encouraged to fight for their country and do as much as possible to raise money for the war. Afterwards however women were displayed as weak and stupid housewives. Many more men had jobs than women and posters suggested buying all sorts of unnecessary things. It was all a part of the consumerism economy.
This is my very last letter. I'm perched atop a decaying branch and I see no food in site. I'm dying. Now, don't worry, or feel guilty because it's not your fault. I died in peace. What was my purpose? Well, I wanted to bring it to your concern that animals are smarter than you think. If you continue being selfish and not thinking about others habitats your habitat will be destroyed. This is simply a reminder of what lies ahead for your species and I write this letter in the hopes that you'll think twice before destroying more habitats.
I thank you for reading my letter and I hope you take my life into consideration next time.
Where to start? The railroads. Their construction was the beggining of our habitat's destruction. Trains were a great way of transportation, for both goods and people. Competion of course was fierce so companies began to lose money. Many were trying to gain customers by giving discounts but that only led to several companies' decline. Then, the pooling system was invented. They would divide up the buisness in an area, eliminate their competition and gain profit. There were also rebates. A partial refund was given to customers that the company valued as long as those customers swore to use their railroad exclusively. Customers that were less valued, like small farmers, had to pay high prices making them go out of buisness. Railroads played a huge part in feuling the economy. They allowed for new forms of buisness, connected people, and towns were built near railroads.
My species was fascinated by your tactics and understood the value of what was going on. The destruction of our habitats however was not appreciated.
Now that factories were growing at a high rate they needed money from investors. Businesses became corporations and soon enough those corporations became trusts, a group of corporations run by a single board of directors. Several critics argued that trusts and monopolies were bad because they reduced competition, thus giving the company no reason to improve their products. However Carnegie disagreed and that too much competition ruined businesses and made people lose their jobs.
There were three other famous men around that time. J.P. Morgan was one of the most powerful bankers of his time and was known for helping stabilize American financial crises in 1907. John Rockefeller on the other hand was the founder of The Standard Oil Company. This company controlled 90% of U.S. oil refineries. Finally, there is Cornelius Vanderbuilt, also known as the Commodore. He was known by this name because during the Civil War he donated his ship "The Vanderbilt" to the Union navy.
All four men were brilliant, though very greedy at the same time. They barely thought about the people they were putting out of business, so why would they think about the nature they were killing with their big factories?
Eventually the economic motive changed. The U.S. needed to break out of isolationism and begin their journey to expansionism. Japan was their first choice of a new audience. Gorgeous, rich battleships were sent to Japan, it was a way of bribing the Japanese into trading with the Americans. The U.S. started several trading relationships with different countries with less power. Several nations feared being bombed by the U.S. if they didn't agree to trade. The open door diplomacy allowed each country to trade in any other countries' sphere of influence, usually a seaport or bay. This policy protected their economic interest during the 19th century.
Americans were going around the world and visiting countries who they thought would help them better their economy. One of the key things they were looking for where fertile grounds and resources. I don't think I even have to mention how this destroyed several habitats, including mine.
During World War I American citizens were encouraged to consume very little. Every last bit of money was sent to the army to purchase bigger and better weapons. It was suggested to eat as little as possible and consume as few products as they could. After World War I came the Roaring 20's. The war was finally over! People were encouraged to celebrate, now that the war was over. It was the first time women were congratulated for wearing showy dresses, and makeup and consuming products. This was a way to jump start the economy, but then in the 1930's big companies made HUGE mistakes and the Great Depression started. The Great Depression lasted a while but there was a new solution! To kick start the American economy they used World War II to make money. They sold lots of bombs and weapons to soldiers fighting the war and to other countries in Europe. This was successful and the U.S. pulled itself out of the Great Depression.
Around this time my flock was in total panic and chaos. A lot of our habitat had been destroyed by your wars, and later on the making and throwing away of several products polluted our forests, cut down our trees and made way for factories. Our numbers were slowly decreasing and many of us were becoming sick from the foul air and loss of habitat.
The Cold War began because the U.S. didn't like communist countries, and Russia (communist), was afraid of an attack from the U.S. Both countries declared war.The U.S. bribed presidents, countries and people in general to not become communist. In Europe they rebuilt several destroyed cities, and even provided the Berlin Airlift, a way of getting food to people. The crisis in Berlin lead to new alliances for both countries such as: China, Japan, and North and South Korea.In 1949 the tension increased when Mao SeTung came into power. It was a huge threat to the U.S. seeing as he was a communist. Eventually the U.S. won, but it took a lot of destruction, hard work and good tactics.
These were the last of my days. I was one of the very last of my kind to survive, but I too died in the end. Too many wars and too many factories killed us. Not once did anyone think about us or other animals. It makes sense too, seeing as you all were in danger of being destroyed. It was a way of survival.
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