Towards the beginning of the nineteenth century, existential Enlightenment ideas on indigenous nations were exchanged for a more biological understanding of human evolution. Furthermore, technological advancements and urban development of the nineteenth century oversaw the end of the Noble Savage - the idea that humans were corrupted by civilization - and replaced it instead with a more aggressive stance on what they saw as primitive, backward indigenous traditions. Thus, one form of scientific racism was replaced with another. When the Louisiana Purchase was made in 1803, there was little knowledge of the indigenous tribes of the region. Thus, when Lewis and Clark embarked on their expedition the next year, they were given specific directions to study the locations and customs of indigenous tribes of the Northwest. They brought with them biased views of the indigenous tribes they met along the way, and their accounts became instrumental in the development of the American image of the Native Indian as the Noble Savage.
History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri thence across the Rocky mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean performed during the years 1804-5-6 by order of the government of th
Over the course of their expedition, Lewis and Clark made contact with at least 50 Native American tribes. But their approach to navigating the diverse ways of native life was not as detached and objective as ethnologists of the modern era would have liked; rather, they were more ethnographers, presenting detailed, yet partial and often blatantly biased observations. The expedition paved the way for the impending legal moves necessary for claiming western indigenous lands and the Doctrine of Discovery.
Bradford and Inskeep, Abraham H. Inskeep, Philadelphia, 1814
A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America; Exhibiting The Counties, Towns, Roads &c in each State. Carefully compiled from Surveys and the most Authentic Documents. By Samuel Lewis.
This map depicts the Western Frontier as a somewhat daunting line in the sand, calling attention to the great extent of land yet to be seized and settled.
Samuel Lewis and Emmor Kimber, Philadelphia, 1816
Map of the United States with the contiguous British & Spanish Possessions Compiled from the latest & best Authorities By John Melish Engraved by J. Vallance & H. S. Tanner. Entered according to Act of Congress the 6th day of June 1816. Published by John
The first map to show the entirety of the U.S. from coast to coast, this work plots the latest information from the Lewis and Clark expedition, including hundreds of western Native American settlements. The year before this map was published, the U.S. government formed the first Native reservation west of the Mississippi, marking the beginning of the forced migrations of the Cherokee from their lands in Georgia.
John Melish, J. Vallance, Henry Schenck Tanner, 1816