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Frontiers of ScienceImperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850$
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Cameron B. Strang

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640471

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640471.001.0001

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How the West Was Known

How the West Was Known

(p.323) Epilogue How the West Was Known
Frontiers of Science

Cameron B. Strang

University of North Carolina Press

Although the Second Seminole War marked the effective end of the Gulf South as a borderland, encounters instigated by imperialism in the Southwest continued to affect the pursuit of knowledge in America. The rise of the Smithsonian Institution and the extension of U.S. governance into the West were interrelated processes: territorial expansion influenced the Smithsonian’s foundational mandate and early activities, while the Smithsonian organized, facilitated, and patronized an array of expansion-promoting scientific projects in collaboration with federal officials. The relationship between the conquest of the Southwest and the emergence of the Smithsonian reflects that violence, competition, exchange, and encounters with the environment and history were still inextricable from knowledge production at both the local and imperial levels.

Keywords:   U.S.-Mexican War, borderlands, American Southwest, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. expansion, natural history, astronomy, race, U.S. Army

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