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Cultural understandings of nature that we have encountered: -Capitalist market:  nature as a set of commodities that generate wealth -Urbanization/Industrialization:

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural understandings of nature that we have encountered: -Capitalist market:  nature as a set of commodities that generate wealth -Urbanization/Industrialization:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural understandings of nature that we have encountered: -Capitalist market:  nature as a set of commodities that generate wealth -Urbanization/Industrialization:  erasure of nature; distancing -Romanticism:  ”pristine” wilderness as location of Divine/God -Frontier ideology:  untouched wilderness as source of unique (masculine) American identity

2 Defining the “state”: An organization, composed of numerous agencies led and coordinated by the state’s leadership (the executive authority) that has the ability to make and implement the binding rules for all the people as well as the parameters of rule making for other social organizations in a given territory, using force if necessary to have its way.

3 "Jane Addams Wears a Star: Appointed to the Force of Garbage Inspectors by Commissioner Kent," Chicago Record (April 25, 1895) “ Miss Jane Addams called on Commissioner Kent yesterday. When she went away she wore a policeman’s star. It indicated that she was a member of the sanitary police force for the 19th ward. She went to luncheon wearing her star, and the Hull house colony was in high glee. It was thought there that the appointment of Miss Addams as garbage inspector would do almost as much to better the condition of the garbage boxes and alleys as if she had been awarded the garbage contract for which she put in a bid a few weeks ago, as she will inspect the work of the man who got the contract, and will see that he does his work properly.”

4 Some Progressive-era Women’s Groups involved in Environmental Reform Hull House (Chicago, 1882)smoke, garbage, sewage, factory conditions Civic Club of Philadelphiagarbage (1894) Ladies Health Protective smoke Association (NY, 1884) Wednesday Club of St. Louissmoke (1880s)

5 Progressives: What do they believe? 1.Progress is real; industrial development is a good thing 2.Order and efficiency are key values 3.Federal government should take an active role in managing economy and society (to promote order and efficiency) 4.Scientific expertise can be applied to solve social and political problems

6 Distributing the Public Domain: Nineteenth-Century Land Laws Designed to Put Public Lands into Private Hands - Pre-emption Act Homestead Act Mining Law of Coal Lands Act of Timber Culture Act Desert Land Act Timber and Stone Act 1878 Homestead on Greenlake, 1870

7 Letter from T. Roosevelt to G. Pinchot concerning the issue of grazing on public lands, Nov. 27, 1905 “I would like to have you remember that recent investigations have demonstrated the destructive effect of the free range system in the past. A very large proportion of the public lands available at present are valuable only for grazing. The grazing value of these lands is now not more than half of what it once was. It therefore becomes the duty of the Government to see that in the future those lands are used in a way that will preserve their grazing value and give them the greatest usefulness to the people.”

8 Public Land Reform: Public Lands Commission, 1903 Established principle of “public (i.e.,government) ownership” & public management Allowed for temporary withdrawals of land from public domain Selected public lands offered at auction under appropriate legislation – Higher prices – Limited term of lease (gov’t retains ownership) – Stricter controls on how land could be used

9 Opposition to Progressive Conservation: 1.Some large resource uses (e.g., timber syndicates, cattle-ranching enterprises, mining corporations) 2.State and local politicians in the West 3.Small-scale resource users and subsistence users (e.g., rural whites, Native Americans, Hispano communities in the Southwest) 4.Romantic preservationists

10 “[Conservation is] the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time.” “The scenic beauty [of Hetch Hetchy valley] is altogether unimportant compared with the benefits to be derived from its use as a reservoir.” “Wilderness is waste.” Gifford Pinchot on conservation:

11 Political Outcomes of Progressive Conservation Federal (rather than local or state) management of public lands and resources Institutionalization of scientific expertise and “rational” management of natural resources -- New scientific knowledge of nature is valued; – Class/race effects: other forms of management and use deemed “irrational” (e.g., those used by Native Americans, rural working class ) – Gender effects: Women reformers marginalized as (male) scientific professionals gain power

12 Cultural Outcomes of Progressive Conservation By 1900, North America seen as a land of scarcity rather than land of abundance “Nature” seen as inherently disorderly, chaotic, and in need of active human management (in contrast to the romantic view)


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