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Escaping the Dark, Gray CityFear and Hope in Progressive-Era Conservation$
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Benjamin Heber Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300115505

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300115505.001.0001

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Fighting Against Conservation

Fighting Against Conservation

(p.198) Six Fighting Against Conservation
Escaping the Dark, Gray City

Benjamin Heber Johnson

Yale University Press

This chapter examines how the optimism of conservationists led them to underestimate the challenges their movement faced. Allocating more control to the federal government in the name of environmental necessity provoked powerful opposition from those whose economic interests were threatened, those who doubted that pressing environmental problems existed at all, and those who objected in principle to the more muscular state called into being by Progressives. Moreover, because a wide range of rural Americans continued to hunt, fish, gather, log, and farm in the new parks and forests, the conservation state often criminalized their ways of making a living. While some of the resistance was conducted through formal politics, it also gave rise to widespread community-supported lawbreaking, violence against conservation officers, and arson and sabotage.

Keywords:   conservationists, federal government, environmental necessity, economic interests, progressives, rural Americans, community lawbreaking, violence, arson, sabotage

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