Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West / Edition 1

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Overview

In this classic work, Goetzmann argues that the exploration of the American West was not a series of haphazard adventures motivated by personal gain, but rather a series of carefully planned missions to promote the national good. He draws on the diaries and letters of explorers to contrast the early American expeditions, sponsored by the federal government to promote national development, with private British ventures, such as the Hudson’s Bay Company, which sought commercial gain.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the first explorers with a broad and explicit sense of national purpose, setting out in 1804 with instructions from President Thomas Jefferson to collect information “covering the whole range of natural history from geology to Indian vocabularies.” And as Lewis and Clark traveled toward the American Northwest, William Dunbar and Dr. George Hunter journeyed south to collect information on the newly acquired Louisiana Territory.

Two major eras of Western exploration followed the one launched by Lewis and Clark: the period of settlement and investment (1845–1860) and the era of the great surveys (1860–1900). During the first of these, explorers such as John B. Weller and John Russell Bartlett became political diplomats as well as discoverers as they surveyed the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. During the second period, explorers were no longer discoverers or diplomats, but academic scientists, such as Josiah Dwight Whitney, whose philosophy influenced twentieth-century attitudes toward conservation and the environment.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

WILLIAM H. GOETZMANN in the Jack S. Blanton, Sr., Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association. He is the author of many books and articles, including Army Exploration in the American West, which is also published by the TSHA.
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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Exploration and Imperialism: 1805-45
Ch. I Westward the Clash of Empires 3
Ch. II The Rediscovery of the Southwest 36
Ch. III Canada Moves South 79
Ch. IV The Mountain Men 105
Ch. V Something More Than Beaver 146
Ch. VI The Romantic Horizon 181
Pt. 2 The Great Reconnaissance and Manifest Destiny: 1845-60
Ch. VII When the Eagle Screamed: The Explorer as Diplomat in the Final Clash of Imperial Energies 231
Ch. VIII In Search of an Iron Trail 265
Ch. IX The Great Reconnaissance 303
Pt. 3 Exploration and the Great Surveys: 1860-1900
Ch. X The New Mountain Men: California's Geological Survey 355
Ch. XI The Army Way 390
Ch. XII The West of Clarence King 430
Ch. XIII The Last Stand of the Army Explorer 467
Ch. XIV F. V. Hayden: Gilded Age Explorer 489
Ch. XV John Wesley Powell: The Explorer as Reformer 530
Ch. XVI Epilogue: Beyond the Explorer's Frontier 577
A Note on the Sources 649
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    Great Teacher, Great Book

    I read this book the first time when I was in a class of Professor Goetzmann's in the American Civ graduate program at UT. He's an excellent teacher as well as writer. History is the most fascinating subject often dulled by mediocre writing. This book is a classic and one that should ignite a love of history in those who don't crave it already.

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