Persuasive cartography. Polemic cartography.
Rare political broadside map, setting forth the Democratic Party platform of 1884 and illustrating "Land Grants to Railroads and Wagon Roads."
The map was published by the Democratic Party during the 1884 presidential race between Grover Cleveland and James Blaine. The map shows vast swaths of territory from the public domain, which had been granted by Republican Congresses to railroad companies. Blaine's susceptibility to influence on the part of businesses became a major part of the Democratic campaign against him, and the Democrats leveled the same accusations against the Republican Party as a whole.
The map was in fact very misleading, as only a checkboard pattern of land was granted to the railroads and the lands shown included both the actual grants and the so-called indemnity lands, which would have been available in the event that lands granted were previously claimed by other owners, serving to nearly quadruple the amount of land represented by the map.
How the public domain has been squandered, map showing the 139,403,026 acres of the people's land - equal to 871,268 farms of 160 acres each, worth at $2 an acre, $278,806,052, given by Republican Congresses to railroad corporations.
Full Transcription of text below map:
We believe that the public lands ought, as far as possible, to be kept as homesteads for actual settlers; that all unearned lands heretofore improvidently granted to railroad corporations by the action of the Republican party should be restored to the public domain; and that no more grants of land shall be made to corporations, or be allowed to fall into the ownership of alien absentees. Democratic platform, 1884.
Rand McNally & Co. is a large American map and navigation company best known for its annual atlases. The company got its start in 1856, when William Rand opened a print shop in Chicago. He was joined in 1858 by a new employee, Andrew McNally. Together, the men established their namesake company in 1868. Originally, the company was intended to print the tickets and timetables for the trains running to and through Chicago; their first railway guide was published in 1869.
By 1870, they had shifted from just printing to publishing directories, travel guides, and newspapers. Their first map appeared in 1872 in a railway guide. The map was produced using a new wax engraving method, a cheaper process that gave the company an edge.
By 1880 Rand McNally had entered the education market with globes, wall maps, and geography texts for students. In 1923, Rand McNally published the first Goode’s World Atlas, named after its editor, Dr. J. Paul Goode. For generations afterward, this would be the standard classroom atlas.
In 1899, William Rand left the company, but McNally and his family remained, controlling the company for over a century. In 1904, they published their first road map intended for automobiles and by 1907 were publishing Photo-Auto Guides, which combined photography and mapping to help drivers. In 1924, they produced the Auto Chum, a precursor to their famous road atlases. Rand McNally would remain the leader in road maps and atlases throughout the twentieth century.
In 1937, Rand McNally opened its first store in New York City. Ever on the frontier of technology, Rand McNally pioneered the scribing process for printing tickets in 1958 and printed their first full-color road atlas in 1960. Arthur Robinson developed his now-famous projection of Rand McNally in 1969. By the 1980s, the company was exploring digital reproduction and digital databases of maps for truckers. In the 1990s, they lead the charge to develop trip-planning software and websites. Today, most of its products are available online or in a digital format, including maps for tablets and phones.