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An Agrarian RepublicFarming, Antislavery Politics, and Nature Parks in the Civil War Era$
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Adam Wesley Dean

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619910

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619910.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

The Creation of Yosemite and Yellowstone

The Creation of Yosemite and Yellowstone

Chapter:
(p.108) Four The Creation of Yosemite and Yellowstone
Source:
An Agrarian Republic
Author(s):

Adam Wesley Dean

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619910.003.0004

This chapter investigates the creation of Yosemite State Park in 1864 and Yellowstone National Park in 1872. The story of these parks has often been told in the realm of environmental history, with scholars presenting their early history as a parable about the virtues of preservation overcoming human tendencies toward use and exploitation. Yet, both parks had their origins as pieces of legislation crafted by the Republican Party and debated within that party. Park backers believed that experiencing natural beauty would “civilize” the average person and improve his or her intellectual abilities. Supporters also argued that America should follow its republican principles by making scenes of natural beauty accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy. Finally, they claimed that the government’s ability to establish parks in the midst of a bloody civil war showed the strength of the Union.

Keywords:   Yosemite State Park, Yellowstone National Park, Republican Party, republicanism, natural beauty

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