Nature's New Deal: Upholding The Success Or Suffering A Failure

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Neil Maher works at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is an assistant professor in the history department. Maher has written two other books titled Apollo in the Age of Aquarius and New Jersey’s Environments. He writes the book to go into depth of each step as to how the New Deal presidency of Roosevelt came about and was put into action using research tactics. The author accomplishes the task because each step of the New Deal was addressed and explained using his research. The most successful aspect of the work was the research that took place and the information given in the book was accurate and well thought out.

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The introduction of Maher’s Nature’s New Deal inquires how Progressive Era conservation turned into environmentalism after the war in 1945 and how President Roosevelt kept up with his coalition and kept it intact. To answer the inquiry, the book claims that the New Deal was distinctive in the sense of conservation. Furthermore, the book continues begins setting apart environmentalism and conservation with their differences. The introduction explains that environmentalism was aimed to protect the environment and maintain concern for it while progressive conservation yearned for the most methodical use of the nation’s natural resources. Roosevelt’s coalition brought an unlikely mesh of people together such as farmers in the west, city-based immigrants, and working-class Americans. Concluding the introduction is the thought that the New Deal and the CCC to be specific, aided in progressing to environmentalism after the war from conservation prior to the war.

The first chapter explains the origination of ideas for New Deal conservation and the CCC. The chapter starts off sharing how the idea came from Roosevelt’s involvement with the Boy Scouts and his experiences early on with the Progressive conservation movement. Boy Scouts encouraged the belief that one’s behavior around others was molded by their interaction with the environment around them. This ideology greatly influenced Roosevelt’s the early politics of the New Deal and the commitment to create the Corps. Roosevelt raised his capital politically through the creation of work relief programs that put urban workers into more rural areas. Environmental conservation can lead to many pros such as creating jobs for those in need, increases tax revenue for the government and supports local businesses. Roosevelt also wanted to boost his political status by supporting conservatism and gain support from rural farmers.

The second chapter of the book analyzes the conservation projects done by the CCC. Maher argues that the CCC’s work appeared to be disorganized at the beginning, but explains that the Corps grew and evolved over time. The Dust Bowl in 1934 required CCC workers to migrate to farms in the Great Plains and even south of them while they also had projects going on in forests in the far west of the nation. These projects spread the New Deal ideals to these regions and were working towards the goal of many conservationists: efficient natural resource usage. The CCC’s next project included work in national and state parks and required the creation of camping areas and hiking trails to enhance the public’s outdoor, recreational access. The Corps work was moving in a broader direction beyond the use of resources, to include public health as a big part in the ideology of conservation.  

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