tv Lectures in History CSPAN November 14, 2015 11:58pm-12:51am EST
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monday night at 8:00 p.m. et on c-span2. >> this week on "lectures in history," carlton basmajian talks about the northwest ordinance which was an act of congress to organize and governed the newly acquired territory from the ohio river to the mississippi. he describes the 18th century national planning effort which divided the territory into a grid pattern, and proposed a transportation network of roads and canals. he argues this process of development was also applied to the louisiana purchase. this class is 50 minutes. >>
he makes a specific argument about how the united states has been intensively planned. this is the theme we have been building. he makes a argument about the intensity of the planning, particularly at the national scale. that is something i will talk about today, specifically, to bring us along this argument. as a rehash of what we talked about, settlement cities and migration cities, referencing lewis mumford from last week, we are saying there is a group of settlement cities along the eastern seaboard a philadelphia, other cities like new york and boston.
then, there are migration cities. we talked about pittsburgh and st. louis. these two groups of cities were some of the earliest planned communities, european communities in the u.s., and how important they were to the process of planning. also, how they reflected each other. we talked about the grid and how it influenced cities, subsequently. today, we will talk about land allocation. we are going to talk about canals and roads. we are going to talk about the mississippi west. we will talk about how this process unfolded, not just in washington, but primarily the government in washington laid out a plan ahead of time to determine exactly what would happen in the subsequent century in terms of how states were developed, how land was divided, how it was sold, all these things that we often take for granted.
look at this map, i showed this map, i don't know if we've talked about it a lot. this is an example of what early countries looks like. you can see the eastern seaboard states, georgia up to massachusetts. this map is from 1783. this is post-revolution but pre-constitution. this is the jefferson-hartley map. this is going to be important factor in this discussion. if you have noticed in fishman's article, he talks about jefferson and his role in all of this.
this map was produced in 1783. it is after the revolution, we are in this moment of reorganizing, how will the government look? it ends up being a relatively unstable institution. at this phase, speaking specifically about what the future would hold in terms of land allocation, we have this map which is an interesting look, in some ways, into jefferson's mind about what she's thinking. he draws this map and identifies, at this point, 14 states in this territory west of the appalachian mountains. you imagine the alleghenies run, we know where it goes. we have a settlement on the seaboard. people know what this looks like. they know the land. we have the west, which is unknown. the u.s. has gotten this territory from the war.
they won the territory. they are laying claim all the way to the mississippi river. this is not correctly rendered at all. what is out there, and we talked about this, it is unclear. we have various indian groups in this territory jockeying for control. americans are claiming it, but there is not a clear idea of who owns it. one of the tasks, the issues the government faces early on and the jefferson is particularly interested in is how to allocate this land, how are we going to actually divided up and turn it into something? states, specifically. jefferson, you've heard the story, the jeffersonian idea, the idea that small farmers make good democratic citizens, this
is one of the myths about jefferson. perhaps, it is a reality, that he believes this is a necessary component for american democracy. if you are creative map -- if you are creating a map like this to figure out what future developments will look like, he is using this ideal as a way of protecting the future. he imagines this space as a set of states similar to each other in size that are going to be cultivated. he is not taking about cities, per say. he's thinking about the state and how it will look. this is not what the trans-appalachian west ends up looking like. we live in iowa. it does not look like this. there's no illinois on here. you can see the mitten just a tiny bit. the rest of this is different, undefined. the map is useful, because it shows us, in some ways, how people were processing, at least how jefferson was processing what the future would look like.
we have a series of land ordinances passed by congress. it predates the constitution. we have a series of land ordinances passed that are meant to set up a process, a plan, for doing exactly what jefferson wants, more or less, which is sitting out boundaries, political boundaries, community boundaries, for the future. for the territory going forward. there's a sense that we have this land, the federal government has what turns out to be a large amount of land. the government is kind of broke.
they have a lot of land, but not a lot of money. land is an important resource, it is valuable at this point. the ordinances are designed to set up a process for settling this land with europeans, with americans now, europeans and show up and become americans quickly. selling this land with americans, making sure the u.s. maintains control of it, that it becomes part of the country. it does not remain some undefined territory, but becomes an active part of the politics and political and social life of the country, part of the economic life. people are set up to identify how this will happen. territories are identified like the northwest territory, to the townships, the sections, i shown you a map of the sections, i will tell you more about the way they work. does anybody know what the northwest territory was, what
it is important, it is the place where this township model, which we will talk about, is first in fomented. we see it emerged as a pattern for development over the rest of the continent. ok? there's a certain flow to these ordinances. they don't necessarily replace each other. each offers a building block for doing this process of planning and allocating land going forward. this is from an atlas from 1783 forward to 1803. the rest of the state boundaries on the eastern seaboard are more or less set. the west, and this is the northwest territory appear, you can see the outlines of what will become the states. ohio, indiana, illinois, this territory is the part we are talking about. the 1787 ordinance the census -- put a census up and they said if they will use this planning process to shape, for the first time, they will make an example of what the rest of the country will look like.
this is important. this is a sub map of ohio. this is the southeastern corner of ohio. if you've ever been down there, it's the part of ohio that is along the ohio river. it's the part of ohio that was really the first to get a new amend of -- new american settlement, a new american community. you can see the little grid over ohio. that is important piece we will talk about, and how this unfolds. you've heard me talk about this stuff, right, the power of the grid, the importance of the grid over time.
i've talked about this in relation to philadelphia. it is important in relation to the national grid, too. the grid is ancient. we talked about this a bit. it is an old concept, the americans borrow it, it is not an american invention, even though it might seem like it is. it is something we borrow. this is an ancient greek city. we see the grid is sort of implemented as a system of town planning. philadelphia is the model city. we have this established. this is where jefferson and these guys are coming from. they're using these models when they come up with their plan for divvying up the landscape. this is the theoretical township. this is an orderly way of
dividing the land. what ends up happening is this is implemented. the shape of this thing is important. notice, i don't know if you can read it, this is six miles, and it is a set of six-by-six grids. tommy square miles is six by six? -- how many square miles is six by six? that's right, 36 square miles. the idea is the new territory would be identified as 36 mile squares. a grid. six by six. these would be surveyed out, and they would survey the land in a certain order along the lines of this grid. they would establish, ahead of time, before people started living on it, or at least before american started living on it. there might be people here, but that did not matter.
to lay this out ahead of time, they would create a kind of orderly way of disturbing and selling land, turning it into property, moving from land to property that people would own. people will cultivate and build communities on it, all this stuff. there's an intellectual piece here. it's not just about squares, it's about creating a system for distributing land. has anyone taken a surveying class? what the chain? that's what is a chain? 66. 66 feet is a chain. if you added 480 times 66, he get 30 something thousand feet, which is a mile. air using a 17th--
they are using a 17th century measuring device to make sure these are all the same size. this is how we get these. this map is actually one of the squares. you take a square, and these are sections. the section is really important, and how many of you, are you from rule farmland -- rural farmland? do you know what a section is? no? we need old farmers here.
sections are little building blocks. each section was supposed to be 640 acres. the idea is you can take them and subdivide them into, basically, smaller squares and smaller squares. the notion is that different uses, different people, different groups of people investing in land, they would get different sized sections, so depending on what you would end up doing, you might get a full section, a half section, some small sub piece depending on where you are in the chain of buying land. the idea is they would divide easily, and you can see here, it could be very easily divided into tinier and tinier pieces. what is the advantage of being a will do this -- being able to do
this? what is the advantage? you guys are silent today. is the camera making you nervous? you can sell it. this is sandusky ohio. a beautiful plan. sandusky, i use it just as an example. you can see this infinity of this grid. you can go from this to this to this easily. you don't have to be a designer, a trained, you don't know how to -- don't have to know how to survey land. anyone can show you how to use a chain the survey property and survey a town.
this was no stroke of genius. someone came in and surveyed the lots. with these sections, you can easily move from a kind of grand, continental scale, down to a city lot. this is the basic piece of real estate in the market. it is critical. most of you will buy and sell real estate at some point your life. this piece becomes important for that. this is how that whole process happened. it is not random. way back in the 18th century, they were sort of envisioning how this might unfold. they wrote this up, past these ordinances, and low and behold, over time, this process happened. it happened and happened and happened. this is another map of ohio. you can see, closely, how this grid starts to look when it is imposed over a relatively large amount of space. you don't have to pay attention to topography when you do this.
you just have to think, this is a grid. i don't care if there's a mountain or river, you can put a grid down. there are are a few spots where we make special arrangements for topography, but for the most part, we ignored it. look at san francisco. this is a held by the ocean, so people put a grid on it and made streets the go up at 25 degrees angles. pittsburgh is a different. you superimpose this on something as big as ohio, and it ends up on the whole country. this is a cartoon, basically, but it up on the whole country -- ends up on a whole country. so here's a gridiron pattern, which sounds a good football field. -- like a football field. texas, i mean really, and a little bit into new mexico and the california coast, there are places where it does not exist, but not many. we kind of used this and said,
we will wipe this clean. the great easy out there in the world is the grid conceived at this moment. you've heard of the homestead act, the whole homes that thing. you might have great or grandparents that homesteaded. this uses the same concept laid out in the 1780's for allocating land. when americans started to homestead in places like iowa and nebraska and oklahoma and those places, they did it along the same survey lines that they were doing it a generation earlier.
treasury under jefferson. jefferson starts, he is a delegate from virginia, he works on the drafting of the constitution. he becomes president. a little later. he appoints gallatin as secretary of treasury. back then, the secretary probably did less stuff and they are responsible for now. gallatin comes up with a strategy, as part of his duties. fishman identifies this as a national planning strategy. the idea is that it is an infrastructure plan. gallatin, remember, this is happening in the early 1800s. this was written in 1808. the country is very new. the whole great thing is just being passed, implemented a little bit. we still don't have these western states. there is an undefined nature to what becomes the u.s. west of the mountains.
one of the concerns jefferson has, in terms of how are we going to turn this into states, townships, farms, is how we connect these? the appalachian mountains were formidable. you can walk it now. back then, not so much. it was not clear how you would move goods. this was a big concern. he writes this report to jefferson, and this very dry, remarkably dry. but, it is critical. it lays out, in its dryness, a strategy, much like the ordinance, which says we will make these key investments, and
we are going to bring the country together. we will find a way to unite the east and west through a set of federal expenditures. that was his original idea. they will build canals and roads. his article also has a map. this is another version of it. it shows what he's envisioning. basically, he is talking about both north-south and east west connections. he is imagining, how do we connect georgia to massachusetts, which is a problem. there's a thousand miles between them. how are we going to connecting to the ohio valley and these other places weekly data grid for? there's the idea of roads, they will build roads that will allow people to move south on wagons. they will build canals going east and west, which will allow us to get across the mountains. why canals? boats.
that's the way you move stuff. is more efficient to put it on boats that on your back and walk. they are the transportation of the day. it is like jet planes now. he's envisioning the canals will really be the way to go. this is the way we bring the country together. so, he proposes this plan, and remember, i said that the u.s. -- and it goes almost nowhere initially.
the government says we can't afford this. he has cost estimates of what everything will cost to build, so they look and say no way. this is too expensive. it flounders for a while. but, interestingly enough, the state of new york, as a state, not as its own power, it takes this plan, a piece of it, up.
the identify one of the projects that he had identified, a key canal, he had shown. they decide to raise the money, publicly and privately, to build it. does anyone know what this is? it's the erie canal. exactly. what does it connect? well, the great lakes and the hudson river valley. by the effort of new york, we get the canal. we get the ear he canal, which is built over a short time rapidly. it connects, suddenly, via water, the east coast, northeast in new york specifically, and the interior lakes. this is important for a lot of reasons. this is a beautiful image. i don't know if you've noticed, but not only do you have a map, like a fairly detailed map of the route of the canal, you actually have a map of elevation change from new york up to buffalo. these points lineup with the elevation changes. the canal had locks on it,
because the terrain is not even. what is important is a couple of things that stand out. obviously, it brings -- it bridges the allegheny gap. it allows people to travel by boat into the interior of the great lakes system. this provides an outlet, not just to go into the interior, but to get stuff out of the interior to new york, to import to go across the atlantic ocean or down the coast to serve the markets out there. right? the raw material that the u.s. is starting to produce. the only other way to get stuff out of the interior is by boat. where is south? new orleans. no one wants to go to new orleans. it is a mess, and no one wants to use new orleans as the major port. part of the reason was because of slavery. new orleans was a major slave market.
it was the largest city in the south. it was a place politically unpalatable to a lot of people in the federal government. not everybody, but a lot of people. people sign new orleans as problematic for those reasons, plus it was too fringe into spanish and to everything else. it had all sorts of issues. that was a key one. this can allowed americans who were settling this land, building farms, cultivating timber, whatever, it allows them to send stuff back and avoid new orleans and having to go south. plus, it is shorter. it is downstream and is shorter to go this way, and it gives new york centrality. it makes new york the eastern port, the big one. not that new york was not going to become the global city it has become, but this helps kickstart the process. it cements new york's status and importance in the national consciousness as a trading port, as a big city on the east coast.
that's roughly the extent of this purchase. achieve itod deal of was almost free not like. the french were hurting and needed the money. on yourght this land firesale. the devil the area of the u.s. not quite a close. it was a massive new chunk of land for the country. that it intensified this issue of surveying and mapping infrastructure in oration which will talk about here in the first it. the orange and white -- not just the orange. in identified state funds on this map was produced. as is a later map from the 20th.
this is the territory. specific territory this becomes alabama. this huge chunk of yellow land. the left of the river. map legally.t this was theree problem were some basic outline for a big this thing was but not precise lines. it wasn't you will get this latitude and longitude moment to moment. it was sort of an undefined territory. there's the british in the northwest. women are not causing as much of a problem but they're still there. yet the worry about them area
watch over the british. remember 1812 a come back. take their territories and it doesn't work. they get this land with people in it. nevertheless plaintiff for the u.s.. remember this is anything i. he and his lying land of their we need to deal with. he is about infrastructure. thinking about not just the talking about much bigger territory. part of the problem was this saloons of happening is jefferson and subsequent presidents jefferson circuit process off. pattern ofy start a
is notion survey mapping it's entirely within the institutional rights to do this but he does it anyway. least he walks a fine line. territoryf the standards were not really interested in giving ground. there are huge numbers of native american's here. so jefferson starts to do this this process in the ration. we have no kind of what's going on. this extended banningof surveying and
that goes on for several dozen years. several decades is another rendition of the louisiana purchase. north. the route here up the route of lewis and clark. they were really the first x ration party from washington. exploring map and look at it documented like samples of plants and animals that could bring back. they're just one piece of this kind of massive undertaking that goes on from really the beginning of the louisiana purchase to the 1860's and 1870's. goes on for years and years and years. as part of the exercise of one tears dealing with the indians and the americans are now actively taking to take as much land promise they can. it's also an effort to control the interior.
identify national resources are out there what they are where they are and how they might be useful. don't want this land just in the sake of having a land area they an effort to define the boundaries of the u.s.. they are identifying climate regions elevations water sources member this is the era now. routee establishing trade to come roach to the whole process of planning out the
consummate. were these other where the grid and gallatin -- this is the third. yet but not quite there this is where they're heading. so as i said there are many of them. areas of the u.s. in the 30's claimed. as a whole series of little squiggly line they represent pathways. beyond lewis and clark there's a series of them. ways after the same set of issues. warring this unsettled territory gatheringcumenting
really almost being combination of geologists archaeologists social anthropologist. there is a mix of tactic what they were after. the records that they kept quite impressed. these were not fly-by-night operation. there oftentimes well organized and included military officers. they often included experts of varying subjects that go along and identify what is out there. but the interesting piece of this but i like to show is they also took painters with them. we did not have photography that. jefferson has negotiated the urges of all this land on washington east coast.
most people in government in the east coast and never been at least. can't just get on the plane and go. theres that are going out in addition to documenting the way the landscape looks just created a really incredible art collection from the area painting that's the painters would go along the others that go with them in they would then paint the scenery and send those painting that to the east coast of washington. jefferson does not know what you thought. he has an idea that he's not sure. images these dramatic coming out of this. almost as much as the collecting
of samples of soil on the math. gives focus in this indelible image of what the muslims like. by artist and george kaplan. software jacob miller you get these kinds of images which are revealing not the landscape here but also the other thing in this people? lots of people and horses. revealing the people of who they withhere they're going this set of interactions slide
this is part of the process of documenting this landscape was laying out you know what was there you know who was there even said lannett control it. then you can start the process of negotiating forcefully taking depending on who you are where fridays in from area class exercise will be working with some of these teachers looking at the more mostly. you have this incredible documentation visual documentation of the land they felt there as part of the sex ration and ancient. i say here it was not all about board. some of these guys were on the make. some of them were there because they want to write -- strike it with -- rich. maybe not the fountain of youth is something that would make
them wealthy. some of them were just criminals risk gaping. there also a lot of these folks part of the distinct western policy and a distinct way of planning setting up the structure. year in this. expansion further west claiming the territory. beginning to see the outlines of modern state. still not have iowa. but we have a clear path to the west. southwest were
mexico is in texas. southwestern sean is not the u.s. yet. leave this to the point of having two thirds of the continental structure. all three of these pieces how is goinglayout to proceed. of the lasted laugh. chicago becomes in all of this the big western metropolis. is allthese prophecies of them in some way are the
ingredients leads to chicago's emergence as the city of trade transports up and to los angeles the second sitting united states. americansy that most -- people are convinced chicago was going to be it. it doesn't really become that. it is a product. it is not landed the small micros they'll. i should ask is anyone have any questions? onwill do in class activity friday.
the 1945 u.s. army document i am not version of can. continuing oral histories. my caps on was any captain of my job. then it was one of those times that he reached out. off they went. later i rejoin the out it. born in transylvania to choose family immigrated to america. reflect on enlisting in the u.s. army at loss and being consigned
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