Chapter Outline

I. Resource Conservation

Discussion Questions

1. In what ways might George Perkins Marsh be seen as an early ecologist? What are the implications of Marsh's characterization of nature as a female? To what extent and by what means, in Marsh's opinion, is human destruction of nature reversible?

2. How does John Wesley Powell characterize the lands of the arid west? According to Powell, how should these lands be developed? Would Powell's plan, if put into practice, have been ecologically sustainable?

3. What is Frederick Jackson Turner's argument about the relationship between the American environment and American character? Is Turner an environmental determinist? What differences do you find between the political assumptions of Powell and Turner?

4. Compare the conservation politics of individualism and democracy in the selections by Frederick Jackson Turner and George L. Knapp with the conservation politics of cooperation and democracy in the selections by John Wesley Powell and Bernhard Fernow. Which views are in accord with your own political philosophy? Why?

5. The administration under Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot associated conservation with the utilitarian idea of "the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest time." What inherent difficulties arise when attempting to implement a resource management policy based upon this concept? What might such a practice mean for minorities?

6. Why did middle-class women's clubs support conservation efforts during the first decade of the twentieth century? What gender conflicts and roles are apparent in women's support of conservation? Why did many women withdraw their support from Pinchot?