Free Downloads
Measuring America: How The United States Was Shaped By The Greatest Land Sale In History

In 1790, America was in enormous debt, having depleted what little money and supplies the country had during its victorious fight for independence. Before the nation's greatest asset, the land west of the Ohio River, could be sold it had to be measured out and mapped. And before that could be done, a uniform set of measurements had to be chosen for the new republic out of the morass of roughly 100,000 different units that were in use in daily life.Measuring America tells the fascinating story of how we ultimately gained the American Customary System—the last traditional system in the world—and how one man's surveying chain indelibly imprinted its dimensions on the land, on cities, and on our culture from coast to coast.

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (September 30, 2003)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0452284597

ISBN-13: 978-0452284593

Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches

Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #174,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #18 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Surveying & Photogrammetry #217 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Reference > History #380 in Books > Science & Math > Earth Sciences > Geography

The subtitle of this highly readable book is a bit purple -- "How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy" -- but what the author has to say makes a good case. It's also an amazingly action-packed adventure story. Any genealogist learns early the practical ins and outs of frontier settlement and the titles, grants, and other documents that land claims inevitably produce. In this country, there are two distinct methods of recording those claims: "metes and bounds" in the original colonies and some of their western lands (such as Kentucky) and in Texas, which describe the boundaries of one's land in terms of the points at which it adjoins or "meets" a neighbor's land, and the rectangular survey system developed for use in the public land states created from the nation's later territorial acquisitions. The latter is far more rational and allows a claim to be filed based on geographical location without having actually set foot on the land -- but it also requires preliminary measurement by a party of government surveyors. Linklater lays out in much detail, and with colorful anecdotes, how the first surveys were decided upon and carried out (more or less) in the Northwest Territory, and later in the Plains states and the West. He describes how, thanks to the efforts of Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. nearly adopted a rational metric system early in its history (which in France and Prussia was an instrument of centralized government policy), and how that goal was waylaid by clinging to Edmund Gunter's English chain/furlong system, which had the virtue of being easily understood by semi-literate surveyors with minimal mathematical skills.

Measuring America: How the United States Was Shaped By the Greatest Land Sale in History Ecuador and the United States: Useful Strangers (United States and the Americas) (United States and the Americas) (The United States and the Americas) Scott 1998 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps: Confederate States, Canal Zone, Danish West Indies Guam, Hawaii, United Nations : United ... Catalogue of United States Stamps) Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy American History: The People & Events that Changed American History (People's History, American, United States of America, American Revolution, Patriot, United States History Book 1) Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers 2013: Confederate States-Canal Zone-Danish West Indies-Guam-Hawaii-United Nations: United ... Postage Stamp Catalogue: U.S. Specialized) Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States) Fierce & Ruthless Ancient Warriors That Shaped History: Their Greatest Moments and Violent History (Aztec, Assassin, Vikings,Hawaiian History, Book 1) Top25 Best Sale - Higher Price in Auction - February 2013 - Individual Cup and Saucer (Top25 Best Sale Higher Price in Auction) Fat Witch Bake Sale: 65 Recipes from the Beloved Fat Witch Bakery for Your Next Bake Sale or Party Top25 Best Sale - Higher Price in Auction - February 2013 - Medals (Top25 Best Sale Higher Price in Auction Book 31) A Guide Book of United States Paper Money 2nd Ed. (Guide Book of United States Paper Money: Complete Source) Illustrated catalogue of United States Cartridge Company's collection of firearms : the most complete collection in the United States Scott 2017 Specialized United States Postage Stamp Catalogue (Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps) Handbook of United States Coins 2017: The Official Blue Book, Paperbook Edition (Handbook of United States Coins (Paper)) Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins (Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins) A Guide Book of United States Coins 2015: The Official Red Book Spiral (Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins (Spiral)) Paraguay and the United States: Distant Allies (The United States and the Americas) War Plan Red: The United States' Secret Plan to Invade Canada and Canada's Secret Plan to Invade the United States The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and U.S. Expansion in Central America (The United States in the World)