American Boundaries: The Nation, the States, the Rectangular Survey

American Boundaries: The Nation, the States, the Rectangular Survey

by Bill Hubbard Jr.

Hardcover

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Overview

For anyone who has looked at a map of the United States and wondered how Texas and Oklahoma got their Panhandles, or flown over the American heartland and marveled at the vast grid spreading out in all directions below, American Boundaries will yield a welcome treasure trove of insight. The first book to chart the country’s growth using the boundary as a political and cultural focus, Bill Hubbard’s masterly narrative begins by explaining how the original thirteen colonies organized their borders and decided that unsettled lands should be held in trust for the common benefit of the people. Hubbard goes on to show—with the help of photographs, diagrams, and hundreds of maps—how the notion evolved that unsettled land should be divided into rectangles and sold to individual farmers, and how this rectangular survey spread outward from its origins in Ohio, with surveyors drawing straight lines across the face of the continent.   
 
Mapping how each state came to have its current shape, and how the nation itself formed within its present borders, American Boundaries will provide historians, geographers, and general readers alike with the fascinating story behind those fifty distinctive jigsaw-puzzle pieces that together form the United States.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226355917
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 02/15/2009
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author



Bill Hubbard Jr. is the author of two books on architecture, Complicity and Conviction and A Theory for Practice. For twenty years he has taught the introductory design studio for undergraduates in MIT’s Department of Architecture.
 
 

Table of Contents



Dedication           
 
Introduction: Boundaries in the United States as the Manifest Division of the Nation’s Lands
 
PART I: ASSEMBLING A NATIONAL DOMAIN
Overview; The Maps in the Book      
1: The Colonies Stake Claims to Land in the West      
2: The Idea of a National Domain Emerges          
3: The National Domain Expands             
 
PART II: APPORTIONING THE DOMAIN INTO STATES
Overview       
4: A Method of Forming New States Emerges         
5: The Evolution of the Territories and States     
 
PART III: APPORTIONING THE STATES INTO RECTANGULAR PARCELS
Overview and Recap       
6: Inventing a Rectangular Survey in the Ordinance of 1785      
7: Putting a Rectangular Survey on the Ground in Ohio       
8: The Rectangular Survey Evolves into Its Final Form         
9: The Survey Is Extended across the Public Domain       
10: The Spread of the Survey across Montana         
 
Epilogue: Other Ways to Apportion a Public Domain         
 
Notes             
Bibliography           
Illustration Credits    
Index

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