American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Kansas and Nebraska Territories

Map of Kansas and Nebraska Territories
J. H. Colton (1800-1893)
Nebraska and Kansas. New York, 1855
Hand-colored and annotated lithograph map
Geography & Map Division (49.9)
[ G&M Digital ID # g4200 ct00089 ]

Focusing on the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska established by Congress in 1854, this commercially published map also reflects U.S. interest in western expansion and the construction of a transcontinental railroad. Not only are several proposed transcontinental routes boldly marked across the Great Plains, but two insets show the results of the 1854 Gadsden Purchase that finalized the boundaries of the conterminous United States. Like early maps of discovery, empty spaces are filled pictures--not of sea monsters but indigenous wildlife and Native Americans who populated the area.


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