Common Lands, Common People: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England

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In this innovative study of the rise of the conservation ethic in northern New England, Richard Judd shows that the movement that eventually took hold throughout America had its roots among the communitarian ethic of countrypeople rather than among urban intellectuals or politicians. Drawing on agricultural journals and archival sources such as legislative petitions, Judd demonstrates that debates over access to and use of forests and water, though couched in utilitarian terms, drew their strength and conviction ...

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Overview

In this innovative study of the rise of the conservation ethic in northern New England, Richard Judd shows that the movement that eventually took hold throughout America had its roots among the communitarian ethic of countrypeople rather than among urban intellectuals or politicians. Drawing on agricultural journals and archival sources such as legislative petitions, Judd demonstrates that debates over access to and use of forests and water, though couched in utilitarian terms, drew their strength and conviction from deeply held popular notions of properly ordered landscapes and common rights to nature.

Unlike earlier attempts to describe the conservation movement in its historical context, which have often assumed a crude dualism in attitudes toward nature—democracy versus monopoly, amateur versus professional, utilitarian versus aesthete—this study reveals a complex set of motives and inspirations behind the mid-nineteenth-century drive to conserve natural resources. Judd suggests that a more complex set of contending and complementary social forces was at work, including traditional folk values, an emerging science of resource management, and constantly shifting class interests.

Common Lands, Common People tells us that ordinary people, struggling to define and redefine the morality of land and resource use, contributed immensely to America's conservation legacy.

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A study of the rise of the conservation ethic in northern New England, showing that the conservation movement's roots were in the communitarian ethic of country people rather than among urban intellectuals or politicians. Demonstrates that debates over access to and use of forests and water, though couched in utilitarian terms, drew their strength and conviction from deeply held notions of properly ordered landscapes and common rights to nature. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674145818
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard W. Judd is Professor of History, University of Maine.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 The Northeastern Frontier 15
2 The Commons in Transition 40
3 Nature in the New Agrarian Landscape 59
4 Common Stewardship and Private Forests 90
5 Conflicting Rights in Fisheries 123
6 The Politics of Interstate Fisheries 146
7 Forging a Conservation Ethic 173
8 The Romantic Landscapes of Tourism 197
9 Tradition and Science in the Coastal Fisheries 229
Conclusion 263
Notes 269
Index 329
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