Cover image for Representing the Republic : mapping the United States, 1600-1900
Representing the Republic : mapping the United States, 1600-1900
Short, John R. (John Rennie), 1951-
Publication Information:
London : Reaktion, [2001]

Physical Description:
256 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
GA405 .S466 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Representing the Republic provides an intriguing account of the mapping of America from its colonial origins to 1900. The most significant maps and mapmakers are discussed in a survey that begins with the first European mappings of New Netherlands in the early seventeenth century and concludes with the Rand McNally atlases of the 1890s.

Maps tell us a great deal about the transformation of America's national identity. Having undertaken extensive research in map collections, including work with rare archival materials, prominent geographer John Rennie Short provides an account of how maps have both embodied and reflected power, conflict and territorial expansion over time, opening a new perspective on North American history and geography.

Author Notes

Professor John Rennie Short teaches in the Department of Geography at Syracuse University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a fascinating book about the mapping (c.1600-1900) of the land that came to be called the United States of America. Thirteen chapters are divided into three parts: "Representing the New State," "Representing the Republic," and "Representing the Nation." The reader is introduced to the notion that the map has a variety of properties beyond the provision of information. It has feel, thickness, look, tone, age, smell, presence, et al. And it may be scribed on wood, slate, vellum, millboard, copper, or paper. Short (geography, Syracuse Univ.) adopts the map as instrument and vehicle to unfold a history of the cartographic enterprise in the US, and in so doing contributes to an understanding of the history of this nation. En passant the reader is treated to vignettes concerning some early geographers, geologists, ethnologists, cartographers, and others, many of whom were associated with the great surveys of the trans-Mississippi. The whole is admirably illustrated with some 60 map reproductions (or parts thereof) and other illustrations. References, a select bibliography, and index are of much utility. All collections. G. J. Martin emeritus, Southern Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 7
Introductionp. 9
Part I Representing the New State
1 'The Seeking Out and Discovery of Courses, Havens, Countries, and Places'p. 25
2 Representing the New Netherlandsp. 38
3 Imperial Claimsp. 54
4 Representing the New Statep. 74
Part II Representing the Republic
5 A New Mode of Thinkingp. 91
6 The Father of American Geographyp. 107
7 A Sensible Foreignerp. 127
8 Mapmaking in Philadelphiap. 144
Part III Representing the Nation
9 Inscribing the National Landscapep. 163
10 Mapping the National Territoryp. 174
11 Constructing the National Communityp. 201
12 Locating the National Economyp. 221
13 A Postcolonial Postscriptp. 234
Referencesp. 239
Select Bibliographyp. 248
Indexp. 252