Conservation Reconsidered: Nature, Virtue and American Liberal Democracy / Edition 280

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The prominent contributors in "Conservation Reconsidered" establish a fundamentally original view of the conservation movement and the impact of public policy on nature. This collection of essays articulate the belief that the thinkers and actors who helped develop the conservation movement-notably John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold-have been seriously misunderstood by scholars who have analyzed them in the context of contemporary environmental debates. Conservationism, the contributors argue, was a diverse movement dealing with difficult questions about the relationship of human beings to nature in a modern liberal democratic state. The essays place conservationism within the framework of 19th century American political thinkers including Darwin, Emerson, Thoreau and Olmsted, and they illuminate perennial questions about citizenship and our place in the natural world. "Conservation Reconsidered" takes a new look at what is problematic about the legacy of American conservationism and explores worthy alternatives to the dominant environmentalist thinking of today.

Author Biography: Charles T. Rubin is associate professor of political science at Duquesne University.

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Editorial Reviews

Claremont Review
Conservation Reconsidered may begin to provide for conservatives a way out of the political wilderness.
Eight contributors, professors of political science and history, as well as organization men, write about Emerson, Thoreau, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and Frederick Law Olmstead. The overall goal of this volume is to prove that many American ur-environmentalists were not simply conservationists<-->those intent on setting nature aside for wise and efficient use<-->nor simply preservationists<-->those anti-consumerists intent on setting nature aside for moral reasons<-->but both. Two essays show that preservationists Muir and Leopold were not just in favor of locking away as much wilderness as possible, but using it. Roosevelt, argues another essay, was no mere rational planner, but intensely interested in the moral role of wilderness for democracy. Still another essay holds that Pinchot less believed in science than used it to support a political reform program. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
The Quarterly Review Of Biology
...a provocative critique of the assumptions about natural resource philosophy and history is 20th century America.
Peter Huber
How muddled and feckless today's most prominent champions of environmentalism appear, when compared with Muir, Pinchot, Leopold, Theodore Roosevelt, Emerson, Thoreau, and Olmstead, the giants of the preservation and conservation movements of a century ago. In revisiting their legacy, Conservation Reconsidered explores the fundamental tensions, challenges, possibilities, and promise of environmentalism today. The conservationists and their critics framed the environmental debates that have endured. With a clarity that has not been improved on since, they defined how we can view our place in nature, and the different objectives we pursue in protecting it. The ten essays of Conservation Reconsidered are informed, serious, thoughtful, and a real pleasure to read. Every serious student of

environmental politics in America should begin here, where it all began.

r is the .

Steven Hayward Ph.D
The contrast between the founding conservationists of the Progressive Era and their would-be successors among today's environmentalists is made strikingly clear in this indispensable book. Hats off to Charles Rubin for assembling a collection of thinkers equal to the task of reviving the original conservation tradition.
Claremont Review of Books
Conservation Reconsidered may begin to provide for conservatives a way out of the political wilderness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847697175
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Series: Political Economy Forum Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 280
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles T. Rubin is associate professor of political science at Duquesne University.

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Table of Contents

1 Saving Wilderness for Sacramental Use: John Muir 3
2 "With Utter Disregard of Pain and Woe": Theodore Roosevelt on Conservation and Nature 33
3 Gifford Pinchot, Founder: A New Look at Breaking New Ground 67
4 Aldo Leopold's Human Ecology 103
5 Was John Muir a Darwinian? 135
6 The Mystery of Nature and Culture: Ralph Waldo Emerson 159
7 Henry David Thoreau's Use of Nature 183
8 Frederick Law Olmsted: Civic Environmentalist 207
Afterword 229
Index 241
About the Contributors 253
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