American Environmental History: An Introduction

American Environmental History: An Introduction

by Carolyn Merchant

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ISBN-10: 0231140347

ISBN-13: 9780231140348

Pub. Date: 10/24/2007

Publisher: Perseus (for Columbia University Press)

By studying the many ways diverse peoples have changed, shaped, and conserved the natural world over time, environmental historians provide insight into humanity's unique relationship with nature and, more importantly, are better able to understand the origins of our current environmental crisis. Beginning with the precolonial land-use practice of Native Americans


By studying the many ways diverse peoples have changed, shaped, and conserved the natural world over time, environmental historians provide insight into humanity's unique relationship with nature and, more importantly, are better able to understand the origins of our current environmental crisis. Beginning with the precolonial land-use practice of Native Americans and concluding with our twenty-first century concerns over our global ecological crisis, American Environmental History addresses contentious issues such as the preservation of the wilderness, the expulsion of native peoples from national parks, and population growth, and considers the formative forces of gender, race, and class. Entries address a range of topics, from the impact of rice cultivation, slavery, and the growth of the automobile suburb to the effects of the Russian sea otter trade, Columbia River salmon fisheries, the environmental justice movement, and globalization. This illustrated reference is an essential companion for students interested in the ongoing transformation of the American landscape and the conflicts over its resources and conservation. It makes rich use of the tools and resources (climatic and geological data, court records, archaeological digs, and the writings of naturalists) that environmental historians rely on to conduct their research. The volume also includes a compendium of significant people, concepts, events, agencies, and legislation, and an extensive bibliography of critical films, books, and Web sites.

Product Details

Perseus (for Columbia University Press)
Publication date:
Columbia Guides to American History and Cultures Series
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction     xv
Historical Overview-Topics and Themes
The American Environment and Native-European Encounters, 1000-1875     3
The Physical Environment and Natural Resources     3
Native Americans and the Land     4
Pueblo Indians and the Southwest     6
The Pueblo Indians and Spanish Settlement of the Southwest     9
Micmac Indians and French Settlement in the Northeast     11
Plains Indians and the Westward Movement     15
The European Transformation of the Plains     18
The Ecological Indian     21
Conclusion     22
The New England Wilderness Transformed, 1600-1850     24
The New England Forest and Indian Land Use     24
The Settlement of New England     26
Colonial Land Use     28
Marketing the Forest     29
The Forest Economy     32
Mind, Labor, and Nature     33
The Idea of Wilderness     34
Conclusion     37
The Tobacco and Cotton South, 1600-1900     39
The Chesapeake Environment and Indian-European Relations     39
Tobacco Cultivation     42
Slavery and Southern Agriculture     44
Rice and Slaves in the Low Country     46
Black Indians     49
Soil Depletion     50
The Cotton South     51
Environment and Society in the Cotton South     53
Cotton Production     55
Post-Civil War Sharecropping     56
The Impact of the Boll Weevil     57
Conclusion     60
Nature and the Market Economy, 1750-1850     62
The Inland Economy and the Environment     62
Land Use in the Inland Economy     64
The Inland Economy and the Worldview of Its People     65
Market Farming     67
The Transportation and Market Revolutions     68
Nature and Ambivalence About the Market Economy     72
African Americans and Wilderness     76
The Hudson River School of Painters     77
Artists and the Vanishing Indian     80
Conclusion     82
Western Frontiers: The Settlement of the Pacific Coast and the Great Plains, 1820-1930     85
Westward Expansion of the United States     85
California Native Peoples and the Advent of Europeans     86
The Russian Frontier in North America      87
California and the Gold Rush     89
Types of Gold Mining     92
Environmental Effects of Hydraulic Mining     94
Environmental Change in the Sierras     96
Salmon Extraction in the Pacific Northwest     97
European Settlement of the Great Plains     100
The Rancher's Frontier     102
The Farmer's Frontier     103
Narratives of Blacks and Women     105
The Dust Bowl of the 1930s     106
Conclusion     108
Urban Environments, 1850-1960     110
Urbanization     110
Industry and Energy     112
Industrial Cities and Labor     116
The City as Wilderness     118
Air Pollution     120
Garbage     122
Noise Pollution     123
Water Pollution     124
The Sanitary City     126
From City to Suburb     128
Minorities and Pollution     129
Conclusion     132
Conservation and Preservation, 1785-1950     134
Colonial Land Policy     134
Federal Land Policy     136
Land Law in the Arid West     138
Lands for Railroads and Education      140
The Conservation Movement     141
Reclamation and Water Law     144
The Preservation Movement     146
Creation of the National Parks     148
New Deal Conservation     153
Conclusion     155
Indian Land Policy, 1800-1990     157
Indian Land Treaties     157
Indian Removal     158
The Dawes Act     162
Indians and the Creation of the National Parks     162
Indian Removal from Yosemite and Yellowstone     163
Legal Maneuvers in Glacier and Mesa Verde     166
The Winters Decision     168
The Indian New Deal and Civil Rights     170
Indian Lands and Environmental Regulation     172
Conclusion     174
The Rise of Ecology, 1890-1990     177
Ernst Haeckel and the Origins of Ecology     177
Human Ecology     180
The Organismic Approach to Ecology     181
The Economic Approach to Ecology     185
The Influence of Chaos Theory     189
Conclusion     190
Environmentalism and Globalization, 1960-2005     193
From Conservation to Environmentalism     193
The Rise of Environmentalism     194
Population and the Environment     195
Environmental Regulation     196
Reactions to Environmental Regulation     199
Environmental Organizations     200
The Environmental Justice Movement     202
The Transformation of Consciousness     205
Globalization     206
Conclusion     209
American Environmental History A to Z-Agencies, Concepts, Laws, and People     211
Chronology-An Environmental History Timeline     267
Resource Guide     289
Visual Resources: Films and Videos     291
Electronic Resources     315
General Environmental History Resources     315
Environmental History Societies and Related Associations     316
Archival Materials     317
Bibliographies     317
Biographical Resources     318
Environmental Organizations and Information Centers     319
Environmental Philosophy and Ethics     320
Government Agencies     320
Natural History     321
Natural Resources     321
Regional Resources     322
Environmental Justice Resources     322
Teaching Resources     323
Course Syllabi in American Environmental History     324
General Environmental Education     324
Historical Overview Web Sites     325
Bibliographical Essay     331
Bibliography     343
What Is Environmental History?     343
Anthologies and Bibliographies     345
Biographies and Autobiographical Writings     347
African Americans and the Environment     353
American Indian Land Use     356
American Indian Religion     364
Asian Americans and the Environment     368
Environmental Philosophy and Landscape Perception     370
The Environmental Movement     378
The History of Ecology     382
The History of Environmental Science     384
Conservation History and Legislation     386
Agricultural History     392
Forest History     400
Mining History     415
Pollution     419
Range History     423
Religion and Environment     426
Urban Environments     428
Water and Irrigation History     434
Wilderness Preservation     443
Wildlife      449
Women and Environment     457
Index     461

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