The Rise of the American Conservation Movement

Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection

The Rise of the American Conservation Movement

Book Pages: 496 Illustrations: Published: August 2016

Environmental Studies, History > U.S. History, Sociology

In this sweeping social history Dorceta E. Taylor examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies. Initially led by white urban elites—whose early efforts discriminated against the lower class and were often tied up with slavery and the appropriation of Native lands—the movement benefited from contributions to policy making, knowledge about the environment, and activism by the poor and working class, people of color, women, and Native Americans. Far-ranging and nuanced, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement comprehensively documents the movement's competing motivations, conflicts, problematic practices, and achievements in new ways.


"This book counterbalances previous hagiographic portrayals of conservationists, examining and judging the past from the perspective of modern values but minimizing the contributions of scientists not part of the establishment. Nevertheless, the book should interest historians and naturalists. . . . Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty." — J. S. Schwartz, Choice

"Taylor has produced an extremely helpful book that defines and contextualizes important laws, concepts, social groups, and people who participated, or were alienated by, the rising American conservation movement." — Margaret DePond, Environmental History

"An important addition to the historiography of the American conservation movement. . . . [Taylor's] synthesis of the ideas of the conservation movement, and the depth that she adds with her discussions of race and exclusion, in particular, make this work an important one for an understanding of the environmental history of the United States." — Kimberly A. Jarvis, Journal of Social History

"Taylor accomplishes a transformative feat of scholarship. . . . She has authored a book that challenges the dominant interpretive frameworks of the field of environmental history and deserves a central place in introductory and  ntermediate environmental courses. Just as importantly, she illuminates the overlapping historical roots of our present environmental predicament." — Jennifer Thomson, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

“Taylor’s book makes a valuable contribution to the ?eld by opening new areas of inquiry as to how the con?uences of class, race and gender can inform both environmental and social history.” — Nathan Perz, The Americas

"Taylor contributes a quarter of a century of groundbreaking work to environmental studies as a whole creating a work that does not reflect the idealist, transcendental, and romantic approaches to the environment or the utilitarian conservationist approach. Instead, Taylor presents a reasonable, measured argument in the face of ideologically charged social issues." — Anna Kirsch, U.S. Studies Online

"An ambitious book. . . . A useful reference to anyone interested in environmental protection, and particularly its social dimensions, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." — Joshua M. Nygren, Agricultural History

"Covers an astonishing range of topics. . . . [M]any of [Taylor's] profiles are fascinating and significant in bringing new characters and elements into the mix of America’s conservation record." — David Havlick, American Historical Review

"A nuanced and intersectional look at the development of conservation discourse and action in the United States. . . . Through a combination of sweeping history and sociological analysis, this book serves as a powerful corrective to the unfortunate tendency toward thinking of and writing about U.S. environmental movements without adequate attention to the race, class, and gender politics that fundamentally shape U.S. conservation. . . . Although this text is conceptually complex and richly detailed, Taylor employs highly readable prose to tell the story of the American conservation movement." — M.B. Bacon, Critical Sociology

"A well-written book. . . . Exceptional both in the manner of presentation and scope." — Nathaniel Umukoro, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"A wide-ranging work, invoking numerous themes and moving in many different directions. . . . A valuable contribution to the field by opening new areas of inquiry as to how the confluences of class, race and gender can inform both environmental and social history." — Nathan Perz, History

"The Rise of the American Conservation Movement shines when women like Sacagawea are described in ways that explode myths of the supposedly inherent connections among masculinity, ruggedness, and wilderness. . . . An excellent overview of the ACM." — Robert Wengronowitz, International Sociology

"Dorceta E. Taylor’s book is a very useful corrective to the common focus on a few 'great' conservation heroes, such as Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt. It is also pleasing to see the role of women acknowledged in a deeper and more satisfactory way than in previous syntheses, though Taylor rightly points out the masculinist domination of much of the conservation activity she calls a 'movement.' This book succeeds best as a powerful critique of conservation’s ethnocentrism and class dimensions." — Ian Tyrrell, Journal of American Studies

"Taylor’s work has always contained at its core an analysis of race, class, and gender in environmental spaces. Her new book considers the history of environmental protection in the United States . . . from the view of the people it displaced." — Jessica O’Reilly, PoLAR

"Taylor . . . highlights the effects of moralization on access to nature. She reveals the class, ethnoracial, and gender biases in these conservation movements and demonstrates their consequences: the exclusion of various minority populations and inequalities in the use and presence of, and public debate surrounding, natural resources." — Hillary Angelo, Public Books

"The Rise of the American Conservation Movement is a daunting, ambitious, and comprehensive presentation and analysis of U.S. environmental history like none other. Dorceta E. Taylor amasses a wealth of data, including rich and moving biographies of people across the racial, class, and gender spectrum who played critical roles in shaping environmental thought and action in this country. This book will inspire you to reconsider nearly everything you think you know about environmental history." — David Naguib Pellow, Dehlsen Professor of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Barbara

"Pulling together a quarter-century of groundbreaking work, Dorceta E. Taylor unearths, documents, and examines the disproportionate price that low-income communities and people of color pay for our environmental ills. She lays bare the failings of our government and the environmental community to adequately address the inequities at the heart of widespread environmental injustice. And she shows how we can confront those shortcomings, strengthen the environmental safety net, and improve the quality of our democracy by making this movement look, think, and sound more like the nation it serves." — Rhea Suh, president, the Natural Resources Defense Council


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Price: $31.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Dorceta E. Taylor is James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s–1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change, also published by Duke University Press, and Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility, and the editor of Environment and Social Justice: An International Perspective.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction  1

Part I. The Impetus for Change

1. Key Concepts Informing Early Conservation Thought  9

2. Wealthy People and the City: An Ambivalent Relationship  32

Part II. Manliness, Womanhood, Wealth, and Sport

3. Wealth, Manliness, and Exploring the Outdoors: Racial and Gender Dynamics  51

4. Wealth, Women, and Outdoor Pursuits  83

5. People of Color: Access to and Control of Resources  109

Part III. Wildlife Protection

6. Sport Hunting, Scarcity, and Wildlife Protection  161

7. Blaming Women, Immigrants, and Minorities for Bird Destruction  189

8. Challenging Wildlife Regulations and Understanding the Business-Conservation Connections  224

Part IV. Gender, Wealth, and Forest Conservation

9. Rural Beautification and Forest Conservation: Gender, Class, and Corporate Dynamics  257

10. Preservation, Conservation, and Business Interests Collide  290

11. National Park Preservation, Racism, and Business Relations  328

12. Nation Building, Racial Exclusion, and the Social Construction of Wildlands  350

Conclusion  383

Notes  399

References  407

Index  465
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6198-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6181-7
Publicity material