ABSTRACT

The popularization of geography may have served to enhance public support for the financing of local expeditions and surveys and for scientific activity in general. During the first decades of the nineteenth century, Americans eagerly sought mineral resources. Public support for financing discovery was crucial to the success of geological surveys. In 1823, North Carolina sponsored the first geological survey in America financed at public expense. Other states soon followed suit: South Carolina sponsored a survey in 1824; Massachusetts in 1830; Tennessee in 1831; New Jersey in 1835; and Georgia, Maine, and New York each launched a survey in 1836.37 Contemporaries argued that the study of geology and mineralogy potentially benefited the nation. According to one writer, "Their pockets, shelves, and chambers, which are soon loaded with specimens, afford the most satisfactory proof of [children'sl industry, as wen as of their interest and knowledge in this practical science. The researchers of these young explorers have not unfrequently [sie] been rewarded with valuable discoveries, not merely to enrich their collections, but to increase the wealth of the country, and to advance the useful arts."38 The earliest geographies also introduced young students in a rudimentary way to the subjects of geology and mineralogy. Beginning with the first geography published in 1784, every textbook pro-

PEDAGOGICAL DEBATES