The Untilled Garden: Natural History and the Spirit of Conservation in America, 1740–1840

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-06-22
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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This study traces the origins of conservation thinking in America to the naturalists who explored the middle-western frontier between 1740 and 1840. Their inquiries yielded a comprehensive natural history of America and inspired much of the conservation and ecological thinking we associate with later environmental and ecological philosophy. These explorers witnessed one of the great environmental transformations in American history, as the vast forests lying between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi gave way to a landscape of fields, meadows, and pastures. In debating these changes, naturalists translated classical ideas like the balance of nature and the spiritual unity of all species into an American idiom. This book highlights the contributions made by the generation of natural historians who pioneered the utilitarian, ecological, and aesthetic arguments for protecting or preserving nature in America.

Author Biography

Richard W. Judd is the Col. James C. McBride Professor of History at the University of Maine and editor of the journal Maine History. He is the author of Natural States: The Environmental Imagination in Maine, Oregon, and the Nation (2003); Common Lands, Common People: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England (1997); and Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present (1995). His current research includes a survey of New England's environmental history.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction: Imagination and Nature, 1808p. 1
Forging a Scientific Community
"A Country Unknown": Utility and Romance in the Colonial Idea of Naturep. 17
Rambles in Edenp. 55
"A Despairing Curiosity": Creating America's Scientific Academyp. 94
The Natural History of America
Power and Purpose in the Geological Record: The Scientific Beginnings of American Romanticismp. 131
Integrated Landscapes: Mountains, Rivers, and Forests in the Balance of Naturep. 156
"A Distant Intercourse": Animal Character and Conservationp. 183
Improvers, Romantics, and the Science of Conservation
From Forest to Fruitful Field: Settlement and Improvement in the Western Wildernessp. 217
The Naturalist's Mirror: Popular Science and the Roots of Romanticismp. 246
Challenging the Idea of Improvementp. 274
Conclusionp. 308
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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