After the American Revolution, mapmakers fashioned a national identity for the United States and defined the new nation’s place in the world. They revised existing maps and geographies, which portrayed North America as inferior to Europe. New maps of the states and geographic texts provided an American perspective on the territories that the United States claimed.

Forging a nation required uniting distant and disparate groups. Geographic texts and maps helped citizens see the states as united, rather than separate. These same publications became a key part of preparing citizens to participate in the young republic. Meanwhile, surveyors undertook national projects, like planning the federal capital and laying out new states and territories. By creating new maps, educating citizens, and drawing borders, mapmakers gave shape to the nation.