Sight Unseen: How Frémont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape by Andrew MenardSight Unseen: How Frémont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape by Andrew Menard

Sight Unseen: How Frémont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape

byAndrew Menard

Hardcover | October 1, 2012

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John C. Frémont was the most celebrated explorer of his era. In 1842, on the first of five expeditions he would lead to the Far West, Frémont and a small party of men journeyed up the Kansas and Platte Rivers to the Wind River Range in Wyoming. At the time, virtually this entire region was known as the Great Desert, and many Americans viewed it and the Rocky Mountains beyond as natural barriers to the United States. After Congress published Frémont’s official report of the expedition, however, few doubted the nation should expand to the Pacific.
 
The first in-depth study of this remarkable report, Sight Unseen argues that Frémont used both a radical form of the picturesque and an imaginary map to create an aesthetic craving for expansion. Not only did he redefine the Great Desert as a novel and complex environment, but on a summit of the Wind River Range he envisioned the Continental Divide as a feature that would unify rather than obstruct a larger nation.
 
In addition to provoking the great migration to Oregon and providing an aesthetic justification for the national park system, Frémont’s report profoundly altered American views of geography, progress, and the need for a transcontinental railroad. By helping to shape the very notion of Manifest Destiny, the report became one of the most important documents in the history of American landscape.
 
 
Andrew Menard is an independent writer, artist, and critic. His work has appeared in publications such as Artforum, The Fox, Art-Language, Studio International, Western American Literature, Journal of American Studies, and The New England Quarterly.
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Title:Sight Unseen: How Frémont's First Expedition Changed the American LandscapeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 1, 2012Publisher:UNP - Bison OriginalLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080323807X

ISBN - 13:9780803238077

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Golden Meane

Part 1. Picturesque America
The Great Desert
The Hudson Valley
Eastern Kansas
Courthouse Rock
Yellowstone
All the Different Parts of Our Country

Part 2. Westward the Course of Empire
The Mouth of the Oregon
Westward the Course of Empire
The Loftiest Peak of the Rocky Mountains
       The Barometric Reading
       The National Flag
       Bromus, the Humble Bee
       The Four Cardinal Rivers
To the Pacific and Beyond

Afterword: The Eye That Has Not Seen
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Anyone interested in how Americans transformed western lands from obstacles into symbols of national achievement will find much of value in Menard's work."-Jared Orsi, Kansas History
- Jared Orsi - Kansas History