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More Cool Maps as Evidence of What the "United States" Meant in 1868
Andrew Hyman

In a recent post, Michael Ramsey discussed a recent Tenth Circuit opinion in Fitisemanu v. United States interpreting the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  In particular, Mike praised the dissent by Judge Bacharach.  In a note to Mike’s post, I mentioned my preference for the majority opinion by Judge Lucero.  

As to the dissent, Mike mentioned that it had “some super cool maps that I wish I'd found….”  Indeed, Judge Bacharach’s dissent included images of two maps, from 1857 and 1868, at pages 10 and 11 of that dissent.  Those maps from 1857 and 1868 used the term “United States” in a way that apparently included not just the states but also the territories.  The majority opinion countered by arguing that the term “United States” was also used sometimes during that century in a way that only included the states and not the territories:

A map published in the 1830s, for example, is titled “A map of the United States and part of Louisiana,” despite Louisiana having been a territory under one name or another since 1805. Mary Van Schaack, A Map of the United States and Part of Louisiana (c. 1830), www.loc.gov/resource/g3700.ct000876/ (on file with the Library of Congress).

Seeing as how Mike and I agree that map evidence is pretty cool, I want to mention a few more maps, which all show the term “United States” being used in contradistinction to the words “territory” or “territories.”  So, here are five maps that I came across during a quick internet search, in chronological order:

1) New map of that portion of North America, exhibiting the United States and territories…. Baltimore, Md. : Jacob Monk, 1854 (Engraved & printed by A. Hoen & Co.).

2) General map of the United States & their territory between the Mississippi & the Pacific Ocean by John Fiala (1859).

3) Military Map of the United States & Territories showing the location of the military posts, arsenals, Navy Yards, & ports of entry. Compiled from pub-doc--1861.

4) Map of the United States, and Territories. Together with Canada from Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1861.

5) Map of the United States and territories, showing the extent of public surveys and other details, U.S. General Land Office (1867).

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that most of the maps of these areas, during the years leading up to the Fourteenth Amendment, distinguished between the United States and the Territories, like these five maps did.  All I’m saying is that some did.  Maybe that was not the primary definition of "United States" back then, but we must use a secondary definition if that’s what the text and context suggest.  It's well known, by the way, that the term "United States" is used differently now compared to nineteenth century usage, in that it used to be plural more often than singular, although not every plural use signified exclusion of the territories.