The Cardinal Edge


This paper seeks to frame an understanding of the legal protections for American wilderness as a result of various cultural and intellectual movements in the United States during the middle to late nineteenth century. The paper considers the rise of scientific analysis of the American West, the humane movement, romanticizing of the West, and increased federal power after the Civil War as principal contributions to the development of conservationism. The paper also considers conservation policies adopted by post-Civil War U.S. presidents from U. S. Grant to Theodore Roosevelt.