Mapping The Nation: History And Cartography In Nineteenth-century America

Paperback | September 11, 2013

bySusan Schulten

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In the nineteenth century, Americans began to use maps in radically new ways. For the first time, medical men mapped diseases to understand and prevent epidemics, natural scientists mapped climate and rainfall to uncover weather patterns, educators mapped the past to foster national loyalty among students, and Northerners mapped slavery to assess the power of the South. After the Civil War, federal agencies embraced statistical and thematic mapping in order to profile the ethnic, racial, economic, moral, and physical attributes of a reunified nation. By the end of the century, Congress had authorized a national archive of maps, an explicit recognition that old maps were not relics to be discarded but unique records of the nation’s past.

All of these experiments involved the realization that maps were not just illustrations of data, but visual tools that were uniquely equipped to convey complex ideas and information. In Mapping the Nation, Susan Schulten charts how maps of epidemic disease, slavery, census statistics, the environment, and the past demonstrated the analytical potential of cartography, and in the process transformed the very meaning of a map.

Today, statistical and thematic maps are so ubiquitous that we take for granted that data will be arranged cartographically. Whether for urban planning, public health, marketing, or political strategy, maps have become everyday tools of social organization, governance, and economics. The world we inhabit—saturated with maps and graphic information—grew out of this sea change in spatial thought and representation in the nineteenth century, when Americans learned to see themselves and their nation in new dimensions.

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From the Publisher

In the nineteenth century, Americans began to use maps in radically new ways. For the first time, medical men mapped diseases to understand and prevent epidemics, natural scientists mapped climate and rainfall to uncover weather patterns, educators mapped the past to foster national loyalty among students, and Northerners mapped sl...

Susan Schulten is professor of history at the University of Denver. In 2010 she was named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.9 inPublished:September 11, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610396X

ISBN - 13:9780226103969

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part One: Mapping the Past
Chapter 1: The Graphic Foundations of American History
Chapter 2: Capturing the Past through Maps

Part Two: Mapping the Present
Chapter 3: Disease, Expansion, and the Rise of Environmental Mapping
Chapter 4: Slavery and the Origin of Statistical Cartography
Chapter 5: The Cartographic Consolidation of America

Conclusion
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Schulten meticulously builds her central argument that state expansion and consolidation are inseparable from the mapping that calls them into being. Some geographers and historians of cartography have written of this before. But until now, no one has tackled the vital role thematic or statistical cartography played in the economic development of the United States and the expansion, absorption, and segregation of selected peoples. . . . Schulten has the enviable ability to discuss mapping and data classification techniques as well as writing of the lives and sociopolitical contexts of people. That is rare, and the book succeeds because of it.”