Citizen Explorer: The Life of Zebulon Pike

Hardcover | January 28, 2014

byJared Orsi

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It was November 1806. The explorers had gone without food for one day, then two. Their leader, not yet thirty, drove on, determined to ascend the great mountain. Waist deep in snow, he reluctantly turned back. But Zebulon Pike had not been defeated. His name remained on the unclimbed peak -and new adventures lay ahead of him and his republic.In Citizen Explorer, historian Jared Orsi provides the first modern biography of this soldier and explorer, who rivaled contemporaries Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Born in 1779, Pike joined the army and served in frontier posts in the Ohio River valley before embarking on a series ofastonishing expeditions. He sought the headwaters of the Mississippi and later the sources of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, which led him to Pike's Peak and capture by Spanish forces. Along the way, he met Aaron Burr and General James Wilkinson; Auguste and Pierre Couteau, patriarchs of St. Louis'smost powerful fur-trading family, who sought to make themselves indispensible to Jefferson's administration; as well as British fur-traders, Native Americans, and officers of the Spanish empire, all of whom resisted the expansion of the United States. Through Pike's life, Orsi examines how American nationalism thinned as it stretched west, from the Jeffersonian idealism on the Atlantic to a practical, materialist sensibility on the frontier. Surveying and gathering data, Pike sought to incorporate these distant territories into the republic, tooverlay the west with the American map grid; yet he became increasingly dependent for survival on people who had no attachment to the nation he served. He eventually died in that service, in a victorious battle in the War of 1812. Written from an environmental perspective, rich in cultural and political context, Citizen Explorer is a state-of-the-art biography of a remarkable man.

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It was November 1806. The explorers had gone without food for one day, then two. Their leader, not yet thirty, drove on, determined to ascend the great mountain. Waist deep in snow, he reluctantly turned back. But Zebulon Pike had not been defeated. His name remained on the unclimbed peak -and new adventures lay ahead of him and his re...

Jared Orsi is Associate Professor of History, Colorado State University. He is the author of Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles.

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Kobo ebook|Mar 31 2016

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 28, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199768722

ISBN - 13:9780199768721

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Table of Contents

Prologue Coming of Age in the Revolution1. "The Happiness of a Free and Independent People": A Family and a Nation Seek Liberty, 1635-17942. The Bargain of Independence, 1794-18053. "A Barrier to Their Trade": Establishing Americans in the Upper Mississippi Country, 1805-18064. "Young Warriors" of the "Great American Father": Crossing the Plains, July- November 18065. "Frozen Lads": Into The Rockies, November 1806-February 18076. A Comfortable Captivity: Traveling through New Spain, February-July 18077. Citizen Soldier: Pike's Final Search for Independence, 1807-1813Epilogue From "Frozen Lads" to "Purple Mountain Majesties": Pike's West and American Nationalism, 1813-1893NotesBibliography