In this assignment you will apply what you’ve learned about maps, spatial history and early American politics to analyze one aspect of early American politics and explain how maps are helpful in interpreting and explaining this phenomena.

For class Monday 6/14: 

  • Write a blog post exploring the relationship between spatial history and an aspect of early American politics. Post it to your website. Submit the URL of your post via Blackboard by 8am.
  • Your blog post should be approximately 500 words. It should use full sentences and paragraphs with topic sentences.

Assignment Details

  • Choose an aspect of early American political history that was “messy” or experimental (and changed over time). Possible topics include:
    • gerrymandering
    • resurgence of the Federalist party during the War of 1812
    • Republican factions (Quids)
    • changes in voting methods in a single state (district system, multi-member districts, at-large system, at-large with residency restrictions, etc.)
    • how political parties changed over time in a single state
    • where political parties were predominantly located in the nation and how this changed over time
    • emergence of unique political party identifiers that were only used for a few elections
  • Use the Mapping Early American Elections project research and analyze the aspect of early American political history you have selected.
    • Read more about your topic in the “Essays” and “Blogs” sections to get some context.
    • Then use the “Maps” section to explore elections maps about your topic. You will need to look at different maps depending on your topic. For example, if your topic is about the changing locations of political parties in the nation, you might want to look at the National maps. If your topic is about the federalist resurgence, you might want to look at several state-level maps from the 13th, 14th, and 15th Congresses. Or maybe you want to explore how voting methods changed during the first 5 congresses in places like MD, DE, PA or NJ.
    • Use the maps themselves, the text under the maps, and the data tables to help you understand what is going on.
    • Find at least 2 concrete examples of the topic you have selected. Make sure to take screen shots of the maps that help explain these examples.
  • Write a blog post with these details:
    • Write a paragraph about spatial history. Define it. Tell the readers why maps are useful for digital historians. How are maps used for research and presentation purposes? What can maps show us that text cannot? Use your class readings from Friday and for Monday to help.
    • Give readers a short description of the topic you chose. If there are key terms (gerrymander, district system, Quids, etc.) that are a part of your topic, explain them. Don’t assume the reader knows anything about early American politics.
    • Make an argument about your topic. Ex. “Geographic-base voting blocs that started during MD’s 2nd Congressional elections shaped MD’s politics for the next two decades.”
    • Explain the examples of your topic that you found. Tell why those examples support your argument. Use lots of detail. Let the reader know the names of states, districts, parties and Congressmen that were involved. How did this phenomena change over time?
    • Explain what pattern readers should be seeing when they look at the maps you selected.
    • Finally, tell readers how the maps you chose help explain your argument and topic. How can maps in general help explain a topic like early American politics? What is the big takeaway you want readers to have about your topic (and early American politics) and how do maps help demonstrate that?
    • Include at least 2 screen shots of maps that help explain your examples. Under each screenshot be sure to give a citation for the map (these are given on the individual map pages).