In September of , the U. Coast Survey published a large map , approximately two feet by three feet, titled a "Map showing the distribution of the slave population of the southern states of the United States. At a glance, the viewer could see the large-scale patterns of the economic system that kept nearly 4 million people in bondage: slavery was concentrated along the Chesapeake Bay and in eastern Virginia; along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts; in a crescent of lands in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and most of all, in the Mississippi River Valley. The Coast Survey map of slavery was one of many maps drawn from data produced in 19th-century America. As historian Susan Schulten has shown , this particular map was created by a federal government agency from statistics gathered by the Census. Abraham Lincoln consulted it throughout the Civil War. A banner on the map proclaims that it was "sold for the benefit of the Sick and Wounded Soldiers of the U. Though thematic mapping had its origins in the 19th century, the technique is useful for understanding history in our own day. One of the fundamental problems of history is scale: how can historians move between understanding the past in terms of a single life and in the lives of millions; within a city and at the bounds of continents; over a period of days and over the span of centuries? Maps can't tell us everything, but they can help, especially interactive web maps that can zoom in and out, represent more than one subject, and be set in motion to show change over time.
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From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. File information. Structured data. Captions English Add a one-line explanation of what this file represents. Summary [ edit ] Description Runaway slave advertisement NY. This media file is in the public domain in the United States.
As the hunger for more farmland stretched west, so too did the demand for enslaved labor
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