Asa Whitney's Vision
In the 1840s and 1850s, would-be railroad entrepreneur Asa Whitney created new maps to publicize his vision for a transcontinental railroad across North America. But unlike other railroad promoters, Whitney didn’t simply sketch out his proposed route – instead, in his maps, we find an analysis of world trade, human geography, and an argument for how the railroad would harness both to make the United States a global superpower. Crucial to the story of how America’s most important infrastructure project got built, Whitney and his maps reveal the surprising ways that Americans saw global trade – and especially trade with Asia – as critical to their nation’s future greatness.
Dael A. Norwood