Formal Paper 2: Draft

Tommy DiSisto

Formal Paper 2: Mapping the Details

Professor Albert

November 9, 2017

Giving Maps Their Place in History

            Many people can look at antiquated maps and candidly point out the simple fact that they are old, and map a specific moment in history.  This is what should intrigue the viewer of the map.  Maps are far more than outlined areas placed on a canvas, they can tell a story and give meaning to the time from which they are derived.  These maps each have their own unique details that set them apart from other maps of that same time.  These unique details shed light on the cultural and historical values of the maps, giving them context and importance.

Take the map titled “A Map of the Middle British Colonies in North America” for example.  This map is a representation of the Middle British Colonies.  The map is extremely detailed and there are many ornate intricacies that make the map unique.  The detail that should most stick out to a viewer is the seemingly innumerable number of roads and travel routes that intertwine all throughout the area that is being mapped. There are so many different routes that it is almost impossible to sort through all of them, creating quite an intriguing appearance for the map.  This attention to detail concerning the routes leads the viewer to believe that this map was created for travel and trade within the Middle Colonies.  Just from this fine detail, the map can be given historical and cultural significance, as well as context.

Given that the British made this map of their colonies, we can tell that they are very concerned with this area, as it had great importance to them at the time of the creation of this map, in the year 1755.  At this point, it is still many years before the American Revolution, so the British have a very strong hold on its American colonies, which makes sense given the detail of the map, they took a lot of time to complete the map, and they did not have to be preoccupied with quelling the civil unrest and uprising that would ensue throughout the American Revolution.  Another interesting detail is that although the map was created in 1755, it says in a personal note from the cartographer to Thomas Pownall, that the map was revised in 1776, the exact year of the American Revolution. This is particularly interesting because one can only wonder why the British would choose this timing for their revision.  It could merely be coincidental, however it’s possible that the British felt that their control over the American Colonies was slipping and wanted to clarify any loose ends in their colonies.  Each of these details can be attributed to real life events that happened at the creation of the map, which shows that maps can “come to life” in a way, and are good for far more than just mapping and surveying a specific area, they can be placed to a specific time in history, giving them context, which in turn helps the viewer better understand the map itself.

2 Replies to “Formal Paper 2: Draft”

  1. Tommy, this rough draft has a lot of great ideas and a lot of different strong ideas. You really seem to understand your map well and you know the historical background. You also have a very similar thesis to Gavin which is that details show the history behind the map. I think this is a good thesis that allows you to write a lot in support of it. In the first body I would like you to explain a little bit more of what makes this detail important to understand. Also, using the ideas of Turchi and Harley could help you tremendously. One last thing is that you should expand your conclusion a little bit more. If you just try to expand a little more and lengthen out the paper, it should turn out to be a very good paper.

  2. This is a well organized paper with some great ideas.  Your idea that the British revised the map in 1776 as they felt trouble coming is a very interesting point.  You have thoughtful ideas, but maybe think about adding some more evidence for them whether this be from Turchi, Harley, etc.  There are some sentences here that have a lot of commas and seem to carry on a little longer than they should.  It reads a bit disjointed to me so just something to think about.  Adding a conclusion-type paragraph and maybe another idea could be beneficial for the essay.  All in all, you have nice ideas that are thought-provoking and good organization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *