How the States Got Their Shapes
America's first century was defined by expansion and the negotiation of territories among areas colonized by the French and Spanish, or occupied by natives. The exact location of borders became paramount; playwright and screenwriter Stein amasses the story of each state's border, channeling them into a cohesive whole. Proceeding through the states alphabetically, Stein takes the innovative step of addressing each border-north, south, east, west-separately. Border stories shine a spotlight on many aspects of American history: the 49th parallel was chosen for the northern borders of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana because they ensured England's access to the Great Lakes, vital to their fur trade; in 1846, Washington D.C. residents south of the Potomac successfully petitioned to rejoin Virginia (called both ""retrocession"" and ""a crime"") in order to keep out free African-Americans. Aside from tales of violent conquest and political glad-handing, there's early, breathtaking tales of American politicos' favorite sport, gerrymandering (in 1864, Idaho judge Sidney Edgerton single-handedly ""derailed"" Idaho's proposed boundary, to Montana's benefit, with $2,000 in gold). American history enthusiasts should be captivated by this fun, informative text.
Reviewed on: 06/02/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-0-06-143139-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-0-06-165646-0
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-165643-9
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