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Geography and Revolution$
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David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226487335

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226487359.001.0001

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“Risen into Empire”: Moral Geographies of the American Republic

“Risen into Empire”: Moral Geographies of the American Republic

(p.304) 11 “Risen into Empire”: Moral Geographies of the American Republic
Geography and Revolution

David N. Livingstone

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the production of geographies in the period of the American Revolution and draws upon several different species of geographical text in order to ascertain how they were mobilized in different ways to support conceptions of the new Republic. To be sure, all of the authors were united in the conviction that the facts of geography underwrote the moral and political legitimacy of the Revolution. But beyond that, works of geographical scholarship disclosed different strategies for justifying how best to regulate a novel set of governmental arrangements; for determining what should be learned from the moral economy of the different states; for figuring out how to shore up public virtue in an era jettisoning inherited tradition, monarchy, social hierarchy, and established religion as the grounds of civic authority; and for instilling in the new nation a sense of its own identity. All this means that these texts have to be read differently from how historians of geography have traditionally approached them.

Keywords:   moral geography, American Republic, American Revolution, moral legitimacy, social hierarchy

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