geog5noteslec6 - Lecture 6: Environmental History in North...

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Lecture 6: Environmental History in North America: Transcendentalism and the Progressive Era Pre-Progressive Era Assumption characterizing American attitudes and policies towards natural resources from the early 1600s to the late 1800s 1. Abundance which were unclaimed, unused 2. Natural resources were inexhaustible. A lack of incentive for efficiency and conservation 3. Immediate use was best People had done hard work pioneering (missing something here?) Legal Structures and Public Policies sanctioned these attitudes Three Principles of American Law 1. Human Nature is Creative a. It is socially desirable to create broad opportunity for the release of creative human energy 2. Humans should have as wide a range of freedom as possible 3. Humans can realize their creativity and freedom best via economic activity (missing something here?) Homestead Act of 1862 - One could acquire 160 acres of land for free from the government simply by making it productive. It facilitated the release of individual human energy. (missing something here?) Other lands were sold for almost nothing to speculators - railroad companies - timber companies Aesthetic Interpretations of Nature in the Pre-Progressive Era Growing unease (amongst elite) with … Rapid Land Conversion (Deforestation was a major driver) Population Growth Technological Change Increasing rarity of wilderness Figures in the Aesthetic Movement Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Born in Boston, Harvard educated, Unitarian Minister
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course GEOG 5 taught by Professor Zackey during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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geog5noteslec6 - Lecture 6: Environmental History in North...

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