Publishing the U.S. Exploring Expedition: The Fruits of the Glorious Enterprise

By Boudreau, Joan | Printing History, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Publishing the U.S. Exploring Expedition: The Fruits of the Glorious Enterprise


Boudreau, Joan, Printing History


IN 1844, swept into office by a campaign promising westward expansion, President-elect James K. Polk was poised to succeed John Tyler in the White House. A confident young United States of America was challenging European nations in international disputes over boundaries from the Pacific Northwest to Texas. Lieutenant John C. Fremont of the Army Topographical Corps had just completed the first U.S. government-sponsored scientific expedition to the Rocky Mountains, and the first wagon train of pioneers had crossed that distant range. As William H. Goetzmann has remarked,

 
   The nineteenth century, for Americans as well as Europeans, was an 
   age of exploration. During this period all of the islands of the 
   sea were charted, the Antarctic discovered, and the interiors of 
   the continental land masses opened up to the mobile citizens of the 
   Western world, who came to them with Christianity, ideas of 
   progress, new techniques in science, and dreams of romantic 
   imperialism. (1) 

THE PRINTING PROPOSAL

In late March of 1844, an advertisement appeared in two Washington newspapers, the National Intelligencer and the Globe, calling for bids on the largest publishing project ever contemplated. The winner would face the enormous challenge of printing what became the Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition and its accompanying scientific volumes. (2)

Congress had already enacted a provision, on 24 August 1842, "for publishing an account of the discoveries made by the Exploring Expedition ... which account shall be prepared with illustrations and published in a form similar to the voyage of the ... Astrolabe, lately published by the government of France." (3) The French publication was considered a high-quality publication, and Congress's provision was a call to America, as the work was to be prepared only by American artisans, (1) to find a way to produce a comparable product. Congress "fully examined all the volumes of Foreign Expeditions that had been presented to our Government and determined to vie with, if not surpass, them." (2)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

 
   The National Intelligencer advertisement [Fig. 1] read: 
 
   Proposals will be received in Washington by the subscriber, agent 
   of the Joint Library Committee of Congress, until the 20th day of 
   April next, for printing "an account of the discoveries made by the 
   Exploring Expedition under the command of Lieut. Wilkes, of the 
   United States Navy." A full specification of the manner in which 
   the work must be executed may be seen in Boston at the bookstore of 
   Little & Brown; in New York at the bookstore of Wiley & Putnam; and 
   in Philadelphia, at the bookstore of Lea & Blanchard. Persons 
   living in other parts of the country, wishing to make proposals for 
   the work, will receive such specifications by applying to--Beni. 
   Tappan. (3) 

THE EXPEDITION

In the 1840s, according to Goetzmann, "the basis of geographical discovery shifted from the simple notation of landmarks and natural wonders, of settlement sites and overland trails, to the scientific assessment of basic resources, the serious study of primitive culture different from our own, and the application to the West of the engineer's calculations so necessary to the advent of a complex and technical civilization into that pristine region." (4) The U.S. Exploring Expedition, commanded by Charles Wilkes, had returned two years previously from its three-year, ten-month, government-sponsored "surveying and exploring expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South seas." (5) The Wilkes Expedition was dispatched to satisfy "an ever increasing demand on the part of American commercial interests for better and fuller information concerning those remote and poorly charted regions." (6) As with Fremont's expedition, Wilkes was also able to assist in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest expedition. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Publishing the U.S. Exploring Expedition: The Fruits of the Glorious Enterprise
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.