Planting the Seeds of Empire: Botanical Gardens in the United States, 1800-1860
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CitationDeMaio, Alicia. 2020. Planting the Seeds of Empire: Botanical Gardens in the United States, 1800-1860. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation argues that the history of botanic gardens in the nineteenth century United States is integral to understanding the expansion of antebellum state power, the institutionalization of science, and how these two processes worked together to support the burgeoning American empire. These processes were not always seamlessly united. Advocates for botanical gardens and for science looked to Europe as a model for the young empire and strove to convince the federal government that support for science, and the creation of scientific institutions, would increase the power of the empire. Collecting and classifying plants, both beautiful and useful, within newly claimed western territories and on global science expeditions revealed the symbolic strength of the United States as it mimicked European empires. The rise of American botanical garden as institutions, whether separate from or attached to another institution such as the federal government or a university, provides new perspective on democratic access to science. These gardens could only function through correspondence networks which were hierarchically structured by social status and expertise, again reflective of their European counterparts. Studying botanic gardens can therefore widen our view of the history of American science and the early American republic as a whole, by putting political and scientific actions in an international context.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366001
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