"In Behalf of the Science of the Country": The Smithsonian and the U.S. Navy in the North Pacific in the 1850s

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ISSN: 0030-8870

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Rothenberg, Marc
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During the early l850s, the United States launched two major expeditions to the Pacific, as well as a series of surveys of the American West. Although the U.S. Army had developed a strong symbiotic relationship with the civilian scientific community, the U.S. Navy was still attempting to define its role in American science. This paper compares and contrasts the role of science, especially civilian science, in the U.S. Naval Expedition to Japan and the U.S. Naval Expedition to the North Pacific in the context of American military-civilian scientific cooperation during that period. Special attention is paid to the role of the Smithsonian Institution, the leading civilian scientific institution in the United States, in the two naval expeditions.