Map of the United States of America, John Melish, 1816

A Continental Vision

U.S. mapmaker John Melish carefully noted exploration routes west of the Mississippi, overland roads in the east, and navigable river systems throughout. He acknowledged Indian groups, treaty lines, and Indian villages east of the Mississippi, from the Wyandot and Shawnee Indians in the north to the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indians in the South. Melish’s vision of the United States makes claims on the nation’s past and future by acknowledging decades of conflict over land and at the same time assuming an imperative to expand west.