Document Type

Book Chapter


Mathematics (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Mathematics, History, America


There are two main questions I shall discuss in this paper. First, why was American mathematics so weak from 1776 to 1876? Second, and much more important, how did what happened from 1776-1876 produce an American mathematics respectable by international standards by the end of the nineteenth century? We will see that the "weakness" -at least as measured by the paucity of great names- co-existed with the active building both of mathematics education and of a mathematical community which reached maturity in the 1890's.

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© 1977 Mathematical Association of America. All Rights Reserved.