“The destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent…to change darkness into light and confirm the destiny of the human race”
By the First Governor of the Colorado Territory.
Fascinating work espousing Manifest Destiny and the importance of the Plains to the future of the United States, published the year before its author, William Gilpin, was elected governor of the Colorado Territory.
This book extensively describes the geography and peoples of the American West, and includes a contemporaneous description of the Colorado gold rush. It also espouses the need for a transcontinental railroad.
The six fine maps included in the work speak to the diverse economy and endless possibilities of the American West. They show how future American commerce will center around Independence Missouri and the Plains, and how this is supposedly predetermined by geography. Other maps focus on the ongoing gold rush in Colorado.
The maps include the following:
- Gilpin's Hydrographic Map of North America
- Hydrographic Map of the Mountain Formation of North America
- Map of the World Exhibiting the Isothermal Zone
- Map of the Gold and Silver Region of Pike's Peak Sierras San Juan and La Plata
- Map of the South Pass of North America
- Map of the Basin of the Mississippi
William Gilpin was the first territorial governor of Colorado, an appointment he held from 1861 to his downfall in 1862 for issuing $375,000 drafted illegitimately on the US Treasury. He gained some popularity when this fund was used to rally Colorado troops, which defended the territory from a Confederate incursion, but his disorganization and poor financial troubles led to his removal. He became a land speculator in the West and a continued proponent of Manifest Destiny, which led to his publication of the present map.