A Man of Science and Humanity

in The Coldest Crucible

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780226721842
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226721873 | DOI:
A Man of Science and Humanity

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This chapter focuses on Elisha Kent Kane, who made Arctic exploration an American enterprise. Although U.S. interest in the Arctic had sprouted from British roots, Kane grafted different practices to polar exploration that allowed it to thrive in the United States. Although most British expeditions to the Arctic had been top-down projects, planned and funded through the Admiralty, the Kane expedition had grown up as a private initiative between Kane and his patron, Henry Grinnell. Both men had hoped that the popular campaign would induce the U.S. Congress to place the expedition under naval command. However, Washington's reluctance forced Kane to reconceive his expedition. His popular campaign took on a life of its own, providing him with a means of cementing support among various audiences. American expeditions to the Arctic took shape not only because of Kane's vibrant personality but also because of the way it meshed with new establishments that dotted the American cultural landscape.

Keywords: Elisha Kent Kane; Henry Grinnell; polar exploration; U.S. Congress; Arctic exploration; Admiralty

Chapter.  10151 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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