Environmental History 2pages

Text book ” Major Problems in American Enviromental History”


America’s Land and People

Seminar Prep #4: Early Republic and Early Nineteenth Century

Due: Wednesday, April 27, beginning of class Readings: Merchant, Chapters 5 and 6


Read the “Assignment” part below, and keep it handy as you complete the assigned readings. Take notes as you read, and when you have finished the reading, complete the assignment.


Write a response to at least one of the following questions. (1-2 pages long) Include in your response at least TWO direct quotes from the texts (Documents or Essays) to support the points you are trying to make.

a) According to Crèvecouer and Jefferson, what was so distinct about Americans in the 1780’s? How did they define a particularly “American” way of life? What was their view of farming’s place in American society?

b) Explain what Merchant means by the “two economies” of early nineteenth century America. What were the overall differences, and more specifically, how did each economy relate to the environment differently? Which one became the dominant one, and why?

c) According to Blum’s essay, how did African American slave women view nature or interact with differently than other people? What aspects of their relationship to the environment were shaped by a gender context, and what aspects were shaped by a race/slavery context? Another way to ask it: how did their view of nature compare to other women’s views, and how did their view compare to those of other African Americans?

d) Analyze the Hudson River school paintings (Document 4 in Chapter 6, plus the illustration on the front cover) as primary sources. What do these visual sources suggest about changes in American society in the early nineteenth century? For example, what symbolism appears in the paintings, and how do the images portray people, the natural world, historical change, etc.? (I encourage you to use a web image search to find color versions of these and other paintings from the same school.)

3. Think about and be prepared to discuss ALL of the questions above in class.

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