Boston Map Society

The home for map lovers in Boston and New England

Susan Schulten, “Make the Map All White”: Visual Strategies in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments

Mar 23, 2021 · 7:00 pm

This meeting is hosted by the Washington Map Society and the Rocky Mountain Map Society, and co-sponsored by Boston Map Society.

Maps were essential tools for two of the most ambitious challenges to American law in the twentieth century: the suffrage and prohibition campaigns. Taking their cues from reformers of the nineteenth century, prohibitionists and suffragists used stark, persuasive maps to gain public support. Both movements began with regional strengths—suffrage in the west, prohibition in the south—and designed maps to leverage that regional power for their agendas. As suffrage and prohibition pivoted from state level campaigns to federal amendments after 1913, these maps amplified support across the entire nation. A closer look at the common slogan of the two campaigns, “Make the Map All White,” reveals the degree to which they also navigated—and exploited—racial and ethnic divisions in order to achieve their legislative and constitutional goals.

 Susan Schulten is professor of history at the University of Denver, where she has taught since 1996. She is the author of A History of America in 100 Maps(2018), Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012), and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950 (2001), all published by the University of Chicago Press. 

Her work has been funded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Henry Huntington Library. Professor Schulten teaches courses on Lincoln, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the history of American ideas and culture, the Great Depression, war and the presidency, and the methods and philosophy of history. 

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