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As the nineteenth century entered its final decade, Americans began to take stock of what they had made of the continent they had been so busily subduing. Only 50 years earlier…buffalo numbering in the tens of millions teemed on the Great Plains. Vast forests had never witnessed the sound of an ax. Indian peoples still controlled much of the West. What had happened? Now the national stretched all the way to the Pacific. Railroads had pushed into every corner of the country. Indians had been systematically dispossessed from their homelands andforced onto reservations. White settlements had sprung up in so many places. 14.The bountiful land Thomas Jefferson considered “Nature’s Nation” had seemingly been _conquered_.15.According to historian William Cronon, the national parks were a reaction against all the destruction that was occurring. The sentiment was, “If we keep going the way we’re going, we’re going to use it all up. And some of this is so beautiful, so essential to who we are as a people, that we’ve got to put walls around these parks and protect them from _ourselves_.”
16.By 1890 the United States had established four national parks. What were they? Yellowstone (the world’s first), the high country of Yosemite and two groves of big trees in California: General Grant and Sequoia. 17.Who was in charge of the protection of these parks? The Army. 18.Nonetheless, park wildlife were still routinely killed, cows and sheep still overgrazed park meadows, ancient forests were still endangered. _Tourists_ seemed intent on squandering the treasures a previous generation had bequeathed them.19.But as a new century was about to dawn, a handful of Americans began to question the headlong rush that had caused so much devastation to the natural world—and saw in the national parks a seed of _hope_ that at least some pristine places might be saved before it was too late.20.Among them would be the young assemblyman from New York City, who had gone west on a boyish impulse, but who would mature into a president whose most lasting legacywas rescuing large portions of America from _destruction_. (Refer back to Question 7)21.In the concluding video footage, enjoy the scenery of our national parks and the poetic words of President Theodore Roosevelt. He says that the parks should be preserved for our children and for our children’s children _forever_, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.Episode 2, Chapter 3“Cavalry Protects the Parks”1.According to writer Paul Schullery, those early visitors trying to figure out how to best enjoy _Yellowstone_ were very quickly teaching the managers what wasn’t going to work.2.Having created the national parks, Congress had not seen fit to provide any sort of authority to oversee them and in 1886 it even refused to appropriate any _money_ whatsoever.