The third volume of North American Exploration, covering 1784 to 1914, charts a dramatic shift in the purpose, priorities, and results of the exploration of North America. As the nineteenth century opened, exploration was still fostered by the growth of empire, but by the 1830s commercial interests came to drive most exploratory ventures, particularly through the fur trade. By midcentury, however, as imperial rivalries lessened and the fur trade declined, exploration was driven by the growing scientific spirit of the age although the science was often conducted in the service of a search for railroad routes or natural resources linked to military concerns. A clear transition took place as the spirit of the Enlightenment gave way to economic imperatives and to the science of the post-Darwinian age and exploration passed beyond discovery and geographical definition. This volume explores the resultant beginnings of an understanding of the continent and its native peoples.
John Logan Allen is a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Connecticut, USA. He is the author of Passage Through the Garden: Lewis and Clark and the Image of the American Northwest.
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