How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines
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Was Roger Williams too pure for the Puritans, and what does that have to do with Rhode Island? Why did Augustine Herman take ten years to complete the map that established Delaware? How did Rocky Mountain rogues help create the state of Colorado? All this and more is explained in Mark Stein's new book.
How the States Got Their Shapes Too follows How the States Got Their Shapes looks at American history through the lens of its borders, but, while How The States Got Their Shapes told us why, this book tells us who. This personal element in the boundary stories reveals how we today are like those who came before us, and how we differ, and most significantly: how their collective stories reveal not only an historical arc but, as importantly, the often overlooked human dimension in that arc that leads to the nation we are today.
The people featured in How the States Got Their Shapes Too lived from the colonial era right up to the present. They include African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, women, and of course, white men. Some are famous, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster. Some are not, such as Bernard Berry, Clarina Nichols, and Robert Steele. And some are names many of us know but don't really know exactly what they did, such as Ethan Allen (who never made furniture, though he burned a good deal of it).
In addition, How the States Got Their Shapes Too tells of individuals involved in the Almost States of America, places we sought to include but ultimately did not: Canada, the rest of Mexico (we did get half), Cuba, and, still an issue, Puerto Rico.
Each chapter is largely driven by voices from the time, in the form of excerpts from congressional debates, newspapers, magazines, personal letters, and diaries.
Told in Mark Stein's humorous voice, How the States Got Their Shapes Too is a historical journey unlike any other you've taken. The strangers you meet here had more on their minds than simple state lines, and this book makes for a great new way of seeing and understanding the United States.
From the Hardcover edition.
needy circumstance and a charge on the public.” Green McCurtain’s career had sputtered to an end as well. In 1910 Congress investigated charges of bribery involving McCurtain. He testified that he had ultimately rejected the bribe, and no evidence to the contrary was found. He passed away later that year. A wire-service obituary sent to newspapers nationwide began, “Green McCurtain, chief of the tribe of Choctaws Indians, who sprang a sensation before a congressional committee by swearing he had
American. Through George Ellicott, now thirty-eight years old, Banneker’s unpublished almanac came to the attention of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, one of whose members was George’s cousin, the prominent surveyor Andrew Ellicott. Banneker commenced preparing an almanac for the following year. Andrew Ellicott, meanwhile, started work on his recently received commission to survey the boundary of the newly created District of Columbia. To assist him in this task,
bruised. Between 1810 and 1819 (the year of the treaty creating the present-day eastern border of Texas), Spain lost control of Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. More important, in terms of the United States, twice during this period the United States seized portions of Spanish Florida. At the outset of the war, the Florida Panhandle had extended all the way to the banks of the Mississippi River opposite New Orleans; by the time Adams had concluded the Treaty of Ghent, the Panhandle ended
credit 27.1) Arriving in California in 1839, he sought permission from the Mexican government to establish an agricultural colony. “Governor [Juan Bautista] Alvarado … was very glad to hear that … I intended to settle in the interior on the banks of the river Sacramento, because the Indians … would not allow white men, and particularly of the Spanish origin, to come near them,” Sutter recorded in his diary. “I got … permission to select a territory wherever I would find it convenient.” He
embroiled in rumors that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was part of a grand Southern conspiracy. Senator Thomas Hart Benton brought those rumors out in the open: I must now … look out for [the bill’s] real object—the particular purpose for which it was manufactured, and the grand movement of which it is to be the basis. First, the mission of Mr. Gadsden to Santa Anna. It must have been conceived about the time that this bill was. Fifty million dollars for as much Mexican territory on our southern