American Capitals: A Historical Geography by Christian Montès

By Christian Montès

State capitals are an indelible a part of the yankee psyche, spatial representations of kingdom strength and nationwide identification. studying them via middle is a ceremony of passage in grade tuition, a pedagogical workout that emphasizes the significance of committing place-names to reminiscence. yet geographers haven't begun to investigate nation capitals in any intensity. In American Capitals, Christian Montès takes us on a well-researched trip throughout America—from Augusta to Sacramento, Albany to Baton Rouge—shedding gentle alongside the best way at the historic conditions that resulted in their appointment, their good fortune or failure, and their evolution over time.

While all country capitals have a couple of features in common—as symbols of the nation, as embodiments of political energy and selection making, as public areas with inner most interests—Montès doesn't interpret them via a unmarried lens, largely as a result of modifications of their spatial and ancient evolutionary styles. a few have remained small, whereas others have advanced into bustling metropolises, and Montès explores the dynamics of swap and development. All yet 11 country capitals have been verified within the 19th century, thirty-five earlier than 1861, yet, fairly astonishingly, in basic terms 8 of the fifty states have maintained their unique capitals. regardless of their respected prestige because the such a lot enormous and old towns in the US, capitals come from strangely humble beginnings, frequently tormented by instability, clash, hostility, and corruption. Montès reminds us of the interval during which they took place, “an period of pioneer and idealized territorial vision,” coupled with a still-evolving American citizenry and democracy.

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C apital s a s pl ac e s of me mory |  head of the new town company, against the wishes of state officials who wanted to name it Louisville, to honor the French. Likewise, Charleston, West Virginia (Charles Town from 1788 to 1818), bears the name of the founder’s father, Charles Clendenin—not that of Britain’s King Charles, for whom the other Charleston was named (Goodall 1968a, 102). Such a propensity among local leaders for naming new towns after themselves or after their former homes was widespread but neither universal nor everlasting.

Arise, and be, henceforth, SAINT PAUL. (Lass 1998, 100) Politics was a second cause of name modification, as in seventeenthcentury Maryland (Brugger 1988, 41). After the change of the British royal family with the coming of William and Mary of Orange, a Protestant Association was created in Maryland that overturned the Catholic government. Maryland was created as a proprietary colony by a liberal Catholic of the Lords Baltimore in 1624. When it became a royal province in 1689, Maryland also became a Protestant province.

They are now American symbols and are considered as America’s contribution to the world’s monumental architecture, along with skyscrapers (Hitchcock and Seale 1976). Some analysts even liken the capitol to a civic church or a temple of democracy.  While the construction of cathedrals amounted to a religious ritual, the erection of capitols was “a founding ritual of republican governance” (Goodsell 2001, 84). It is therefore quite natural for citizens to display great pride in “their” capitol—paid for with their money.

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