By Donald Worster

ISBN-10: 0826314821

ISBN-13: 9780826314826

The West is still unsettled--by cultural behavior, highbrow debate, and ecological stipulations. In those 4 essays, that have been awarded because the 1992 Calvin P. Horn Lectures in Western historical past and tradition, Donald Worster incisively discusses the function of the common setting within the making of the West--and usually in its unmaking and remaking. His topics are 4 associated issues: the legacy of John Wesley Powell to western source administration; the domination of water coverage by way of kingdom, technology, and capital because the mid-nineteenth century; the destiny of flora and fauna within the push to settle the West; and the specter of worldwide warming to the good Plains.

The panorama of the West has for too lengthy been a disadvantage to be conquer. yet in Worster's view it truly is in seeing how humans have handled and, all too frequently, mishandled nature that provides urgency to raised knowing the region's ecological heritage. Worster argues for a brand new dating of western humans to their atmosphere in response to merits to a group instead of on profits to individuals.

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Additional resources for An unsettled country: changing landscapes of the American West

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The West must serve the national interest, they felt, an interest defined by Easterners in terms of wealth, power, social harmony, and national economic longevity. Powell, in contrast, thought about the West in regional, not national terms. He may have lived in Washington, devoting much of his adult life to federal projects, but when it came to planning for the West, he stood with the folk at the grass roots, asking what was in their best long-term interest. It was not a perspective others around him shared; they must have looked on many of his regionalist ideas as ''unrealistic" or quaint and soon cast them into obscure shadows.

He emphatically rejected the alternative, already being debated, of giving the federal government active, centralized control over western resources. The government should not cede its lands to the states, he felt, but neither should it set up a national administration to guard the forests (it would soon become "a hotbed of corruption") nor an irrigation administration to finance water development. The Spanish and Mormon models demonstrated that local community control would, Page 17 in the long run, do more to educate people in stewardship of the earth, prevent large disparities of wealth, and be more efficient and economical.

The scientific exploration of this new region of the West did not begin or end with Powell, but he may have been its most important exponent. Regions, to be sure, are based on something more than scientific definitions, even in the modern age. Other people came into the country Page 9 too, people with no interest in science, and they were far more numerous than the explorer-scientists, including entrepreneurs, rural settlers, laborers, women as well as men, people of all races, people from every corner of the earth.

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An unsettled country: changing landscapes of the American West by Donald Worster


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