WDSC100-05 - The Pristine Myth The Landscape of the...

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Unformatted text preview: The Pristine Myth The Landscape of the Americas in 1492 So dense was the original forest, it was claimed, that a squirrel might travel from the Atlantic to the Mississippi from tree limb to tree limb without ever touching the ground. Cleared of this nineteenth- century romanticism, the original accounts tell a different story. So open were the woods, one author advised with a touch of hyperbole, it was possible to drive a stagecoach from the eastern seaboard to St. Louis without benefit of a cleared road. The virgin forest seemed to many explorers not much different from the parks and champion fields they had known in Old England. It was not the forests of the New World that startled them and strained their vocabulary, but the grasslands. The virgin forest was not encountered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; it was invented in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Stephen J. Pyne, Fire in America [p. 6] No other field in American history has grown as fast, marveled Joyce Chapman, a Harvard historian, in 2003. Charles C. Mann, 1491 [p. 35] The Americas before Columbus The Pristine Myth William M. Denevan How did it come about? The Early Europeans Romantic writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries Michel de Montaigne Jean-Jacques Rousseau William Wordsworth Samuel Taylor Coleridge Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson James Fenimore Cooper The Population Debate 300,000,000 Early Estimates James Mooney, 1910 Ethnographer, Smithsonian Institution North American population: 1.15 million Based on review of historic documents New Estimates Henry F. Dobyns, 1966Henry F....
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This note was uploaded on 02/04/2012 for the course HISTORY 104 taught by Professor Reed during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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WDSC100-05 - The Pristine Myth The Landscape of the...

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