The 1920s and the New Deal

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Decline of Progressive Conservation

            Retreat after 1914: “conservation extremists”

–            Western opposition

             No more withdrawing land from development

             No more regulations from Washington

            Conservationists out of influence, 1920s

–            Legacy of 1912 Republican-Progressive split

–            Teapot Dome Scandal, 1922

Fashion Kills Off the Birds

Wildlife conservation

            George Bird Grinnell, editor, Field and Stream

–            Audubon Society, 1880s; national org. by 1905

            Hunters & gun companies act

–            American Game Protective Association, 1911

–            States establish hunting seasons & licenses

–            US Biological Survey regulates bird hunting, 1913

            Conflict: how to best protect birds

–            Animal lovers: limit hunting

–            Hunters: protect habitat

Wildlife conservation

            1920s rise in sport hunting and fishing

–            Democratization of hunting

             Army surplus Krag rifles 1903, then Springfield .30-06

–            Fishing spots polluted, filled, paved

–            Wetlands filled; waterfowl gone

Protecting fish

            Izaak Walton League, 1922

–            Founded by Chicago businessmen

–            100,000 members, mostly in the Midwest

            1923 threat to 300 miles of
Mississippi bottomlands

–            Congress: 300-mile, $1.5 million refuge

Conservation in the New Deal

            1932: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

–            Idolizes 5th cousin Theodore Roosevelt

–            Progressives bolt to Democratic Party

             Former Republicans: Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture

–             1912: no Democrats to advise Woodrow Wilson on conservation
–             1940: no Republicans to advise Wendell Wilkie on conservation

            Conservation: priority of prosperity

Civilian Conservation Corps

            Military-style camps for unemployed men

–            Forestry

–            Soil erosion

–            Flood control

–            Roads and trails

–            Visitors’ centers for parks

            Spread appreciation for conservation

CCC camp in Berkshires

CCC highway beautification

CCC: watering pinetrees

CCC builds Texas parks

New Deal Conservation Agencies

            Soil Conservation Service (1933)

            Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

–            Poverty and environmental ruin

             Harness unruly river for human benefit

             Fertilizer & public power for poor farmers

–            Centrally-controlled refashioning of landscape

–            Great success — never repeated

–            No consideration of ecological effects

TVA map

TVA flood control

TVA tree nursery


TVA rural electrification

Parks Expansion

            Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes

            10 new parks and monuments

–            New, undeveloped National Parks

             Kings Canyon



            Ordered desegregation of National Parks

Building dams

            Example of Hoover (Boulder) Dam

            Dams: something for everyone

–            Jobs

–            Public power

–            Boost for the economy

Renewed concern for wildlife

            Drastic drop in waterfowl: 100 to 20 million

–            Product of drought and development

            “Ding” Darling, Biological Survey 1933–35

–            Migratory Waterfowl Division

             1934: Duck Stamp Act

             By 1940: 159 new refuges of 7.5 million acres

–            1940: Fish & Wildlife Svc. in Interior Dept.

             Unified game policy

–            With gun companies, founds National Wildlife Federation, 1938


            Problem of the automobile

            Wilderness in National Forests

–            Aldo Leopold

             2-week trip; Gila Wilderness, 1924

–            Bob Marshall

            Protection of Appalachian Trail from CCC

–            Benton McKaye & Harvey Broome

            Wilderness Society, 1935