Susan Schulten is a professor of history at the University of Denver. Her newest book is A History of America in 100 Maps (2018), published by the British Library Press and the University of Chicago Press. She is also the author of Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012), which won the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association's Norris and Carol Hundley Award, and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880–1950 (2001). Her other recent work includes "The Civil War and the Origins of the Colorado Territory," Western Historical Quarterly (spring 2013), which was named the best article in the journal that year. With Elliott Gorn and Randy Roberts she recently edited Constructing the American Past: A Sourcebook of a People's History (2018). She teaches courses on Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction, America at the turn of the century, the history of American ideas and culture, the Great Depression, the Cold War, war and the presidency, and the methods and philosophy of history. Recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship for her research on the history of cartography, she lectures widely on the Civil War, the history of maps, and American history in general. For four years she also contributed to the New York Times "Disunion" series, which commemorated the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. For more information on her newest book, visit www.america100maps.com.
We commonly acknowledge that the extension of slavery into the West was a primary cause of the Civil War. Yet we tend to treat these two mid-nineteenth-century narratives as geographically distinct: a battle over slavery engulfs the East while mineral rushes and migration transform the West. Here we explore the creation of the Colorado Territory as an outgrowth of both of these developments, as well as the shifting conception of American geography in the 1850s.