Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Paul Wilson

Commitee Members

Abe Ravitz, David Shively, Michael Hedegaard


Army, base, contiguous US, distribution, fort, spatiotemporal


University of Montana


The cartographic exploration of US Army fort and personnel variation in the contiguous United States has been well developed in the past, but not nearly enough to capture the essence of this interesting historical geography. In order to address this shortcoming in the geographical literature it was necessary to establish some rational points of reference to compare fort and personnel attributes of significant timeframes from 1800 to 1900. More specifically, once the distributional patterns were revealed, they were compared by using center of population, geographic means, point pattern analyses, base age, population, and historical backgrounds to definitively classify each period’s Army fort attributes and to illustrate their distributional trends. The central results indicated that the distances between military presence and the US population during the one-hundred years were variable, but closely related to the social, political, and military atmospheres of those times. Furthermore, the trends discovered concerning the collective establishment of forts on the landscape show that base construction, during many periods, coincided strongly with well known concepts in US history: westward expansion, Indian Wars, and international conflict. Using the stated metrics for understanding the establishment trajectories over time, one can identify some concrete geographical relationships between not only Army bases and personnel, but also the US population as a result of this research. Since the literature regarding Army bases and personnel in the past has focused predominately upon emphasizing the historical or qualitative aspects of this topic, this research likely introduces an appealing, yet needed, spatiotemporal perspective on the historical geography of these forts in the contiguous United States.

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© Copyright 2007 Ben Ravitz