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Perpetual War and Natural Knowledge in the United States, 1775–1860

Perpetual War and Natural Knowledge in the United States, 1775–1860 <p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>Intellectual historians and historians of science have typically portrayed the pursuit of natural knowledge between the Revolution and the Civil War as something that took place in an essentially peaceful context. But warfare was constant in the early United States, and it was neither tangential to, nor even clearly divisible from, how any group produced and circulated knowledge about the natural world. This essay argues that warfare enabled, circumscribed, and conditioned the pursuit of natural knowledge among the diverse peoples who populated the United States. More importantly, warfare provides a lens for reframing the history of natural knowledge in America in a way that is both more comprehensive and less skewed by the legacy of American exceptionalism. This history spans the colonial and national eras, encompasses diverse individuals in diverse places, decenters the eastern Anglos who have too often characterized natural knowledge in the United States on the whole, and situates natural knowledge in the United States as part of a global story. In short, focusing on warfare helps make Anglo-Americans part of a shared intellectual history, not its exclusive protagonists.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Perpetual War and Natural Knowledge in the United States, 1775–1860

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 38 (3) – Sep 26, 2018

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620

Abstract

<p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>Intellectual historians and historians of science have typically portrayed the pursuit of natural knowledge between the Revolution and the Civil War as something that took place in an essentially peaceful context. But warfare was constant in the early United States, and it was neither tangential to, nor even clearly divisible from, how any group produced and circulated knowledge about the natural world. This essay argues that warfare enabled, circumscribed, and conditioned the pursuit of natural knowledge among the diverse peoples who populated the United States. More importantly, warfare provides a lens for reframing the history of natural knowledge in America in a way that is both more comprehensive and less skewed by the legacy of American exceptionalism. This history spans the colonial and national eras, encompasses diverse individuals in diverse places, decenters the eastern Anglos who have too often characterized natural knowledge in the United States on the whole, and situates natural knowledge in the United States as part of a global story. In short, focusing on warfare helps make Anglo-Americans part of a shared intellectual history, not its exclusive protagonists.</p>

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Sep 26, 2018

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