Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
In life and in death, fame and glory eluded Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813). The ambitious young military officer and explorer, best known for a mountain peak that he neither scaled nor named, was destined to live in the shadows of more famous contemporaries-explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. This collection of thought-provoking essays rescues Pike from his undeserved obscurity. It does so by providing a nuanced assessment of Pike and his actions within the larger context of American imperial ambition in the time of Jefferson.
Pike's accomplishments as an explorer and mapmaker and as a soldier during the War of 1812 has been tainted by his alleged connection to Aaron Burr's conspiracy to separate the trans-Appalachian region from the United States. For two hundred years historians have debated whether Pike was an explorer or a spy, whether he knew about the Burr Conspiracy or was just a loyal foot soldier. This book moves beyond that controversy to offer new scholarly perspectives on Pike's career.
The essayists-all prominent historians of the American West-examine Pike's expeditions and writings, which provided an image of the Southwest that would shape American culture for decades. John Logan Allen explores Pike's contributions to science and cartography; James P. Ronda and Leo E. Oliva address his relationships with Native peoples and Spanish Read More chevron_right
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