Paul’s Pick: Mapping Florida, Revising America

Every month, Paul Chase in the Penn Press Journals department invites our blog readers to download a complimentary article from one of our many scholarly journals.

Early American StudiesPaul's pick for July is "Island Nation: Mapping Florida, Revising America"  by Michelle Currie Navakas at Texas Tech University. The article appears in the latest issue of Early American Studies.

This essay tells the story of how Americans came to imagine Florida as islands and explains the cultural and political significance of Florida’s geographic dispersal during the early national period, a time when efforts at national self-definition were largely rooted in a sense of America as solid ground where national and continental boundaries coin- cided. I argue that reflections on Florida in maps, settlers’ guides, natural histories, and tales of Florida, such as ‘‘The Florida Pirate,’’ reveal a largely overshadowed dimension of early national imaginations of self and national identity—namely, the prospect that mobility and dispersal could also sustain American character. The same people who pondered Federalist ideals of nationhood in documents such as the Northwest Ordinance and the Federalist Papers also contemplated popular images of Florida that challenged these ideals and proposed versions of America and Americans that might derive from impermanent, shifting ground.

Click here to download this free article and learn more about Early American Studies.

Check the Penn Press Log in August for Paul's next pick.