With an Introduction, Notes, and Critical Commentary
Roots of American Environmentalism is an anthology that explores the various attitudes toward land and its use from the American colonial period to the end of the nineteenth century. The major focus is on the differing concepts of "land," "wilderness," and "nature" and the way they are represented in historical texts. In order to facilitate access to the historical text, each is provided with a commentary that focuses on its significance for environmental issues.
In selecting the texts included here, the editors have concentrated on three major archetypes in the attitudes toward the American environment: the primitive, as represented in James Fenimore Cooper's frontier hero, Natty Bumppo, the pastoral, as represented in Jonathan Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and the commercial, as represented in Washington Irving's restless Yankee, Ichabod Crane.