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Water, Land, and Law in the West: The Limits of Public Policy, 1850-1920

Overview

This volume features the best and most influential essays by Donald J. Pisani, one of our nation's leading environmental and western historians. Collectively, the essays highlight the central role played by land, water, and timber allocation in the American West and show how efforts to achieve justice and efficiency were compromised by the region's obsession with achieving rapid economic growth. Pisani's work underscores the importance of natural resources to the American vision of opportunity and social ...
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Overview

This volume features the best and most influential essays by Donald J. Pisani, one of our nation's leading environmental and western historians. Collectively, the essays highlight the central role played by land, water, and timber allocation in the American West and show how efforts to achieve justice and efficiency were compromised by the region's obsession with achieving rapid economic growth. Pisani's work underscores the importance of natural resources to the American vision of opportunity and social progress, as well as the limits of federal influence in resolving the complex tensions between national and local control, between government regulation and laissez-faire capitalism, between democratic and corporate power, and between development and conservation. Pisani reminds us that westerners, ever wary of any form of centralized planning, have been far more supportive of the marketplace than government direction, and he demonstrates just how difficult it is to alter natural resource policies to keep pace with changing times and values. For those already familiar with Pisani or those coming to him for the first time, this is an invaluable volume.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The series presents an interdisciplinary approach to the use and misuse of resources in the American West. This volume comprises essays written between 1982 and 1994, and previously published in journals such as Western Historical Quarterly, J. of American History, and Environmental History Review). Pisani, one of the nation's leading environmental and Western historians, highlights the central role played by land, water, and timber allocation in the American West, and shows how efforts to achieve justice and efficiency were compromised by the region's obsession with achieving rapid economic growth. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Pt. 1 Water Law 1
1 Enterprise and Equity: A Critique of Western Water Law in the Nineteenth Century 7
2 The Origins of Western Water Law: Case Studies from Two California Mining Districts 24
3 State vs. Nation: Federal Reclamation and Water Rights in the Progressive Era 38
Pt. 2 Land 51
4 Squatter Law in California, 1850-1858 57
5 Land Monopoly in Nineteenth-Century California 86
6 George Maxwell, the Railroads, and American Land Policy, 1899-1904 102
Pt. 3 Forests, Conservation, and Bureaucracy 119
7 Forests and Conservation, 1865-1890 124
8 Forests and Reclamation, 1891-1911 141
Pt. 4 Federal Reclamation 159
9 Irrigation, Water Rights, and the Betrayal of Indian Allotment 164
10 Reclamation and Social Engineering in the Progressive Era 180
Afterword 195
Notes 199
Index 259
Source Note 273
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