The Great American Desert

“The language of the maps shows that the Great American Desert existed in the records from 1820 until 1858. The popular concept of the desert had existed in the written records for two hundred and eighty years before that time, i1 and in published accounts and in the public mind it continued to live until after the Civil War. The fiction of. the Great American Desert was founded by the first explorers, was confirmed by scientific investigators and military reports, and was popularized by travelers and newspapers.”