Is the frontier as the existence of free land in the West really a viable cultural concept since reclamation was so prevalent in the east?
Winslow Homer
During the eighteenth century two very distinct & antithetical visions of reality were nurtured by settlement and growth.
  1. One place to see this tension is in estuaries.
  2. Another way to think of this was new values of reclamation replaced traditional values of relying on natural conditions for sustaining the community.


  reclamation | urbanization | agrarianism | Boston | Romantic movement | Erie canal | early ecology | advocates

Widespread changes in landscape by coastal engineering

settlement required new means to accommodate a quickly growing population.

slave labor and

steam engine

both created literally new land and redirected waters of the early American nation.


What is reclamation?, see definition.



ideology of agrarianism

pace of reclamation versus artists and writers who stopped to look

positive returns form reclamation


naturalists most important bequest was to catalog what is now going, gone

Du Pont "the face of the country is changed"

shift in how estuaries and marshes were used       


Utilitarianism a theory of how to measure social conditions


Oliver Evans an inventive genius in Philadelphia


Schuylkill river dredge

Health and sanitation

Evan's invention for steam dredging

Steam dredges -- pumping and vessel safety

navigational vigilance


five million population to 32 million in _____ years;

10 is double
20 is quadruple
32 is more than sextuple

Urban growth outpaced the capacity existing institutions and technology to handle silt, garbage, and sanitation.


Agrarianism and Jeffersonian democracy

Jeffersonian idealism and the land ordinance of 1785

Articles of Confederation -- public domain -Compromise of 1785

Encouraging settlement, Hamiltonian sale of public domain


Establishment of the Public Domain


Policies promoted the sale of public lands to acquire revenue to fund government.

Western lands were the national government's to sell at auction or grant to veterans.


Tidelands more complex than the land survey system because these are submerged lands and exposed areas depending on the time of the year and the extremity of the tides.


submerged land that lies beneath navigable water bodies is sovereign land

Sovereign lands


Jefferson's varied ideas include opposition to fishery subsidies in favor of markets and tariffs.


fishery declines

1807, Survey of Coasts was in the Lewis and Clark tradition

1815 -- during the war of 1812-1814; lessons were learned -- it USCS began only to die 1818

1832, Coast Survey was revived


Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Jefferson, had a vision of an interconnected "network" for a coastal nation.

Report on the Internal Improvements needed to create the commercial viability of the nation.

conversion of tidal basins due to commerce


Boston tripled in population--1789-1824


Boston constructing the Long Wharf and mill pond

Back Bay fill 1844

Railroads and filling south Cove1861


carts of rubbish and scavengers

Winslow Homer

regular steamer service on rivers brought people to the mountains and the seashores.

Jacksonian era and the start of swimming recreationally and summer

Sining Beach


Profound appreciation for the seashoreĞis evident at Nahant, north of Boston.




even marshes were pretty for this visitor of the seashore


Romantic movement



reclamation | urbanization | agrarianism | Boston | Romantic movement | Erie canal | early ecology | advocates

The romantic poets and writers developed a preoccupation with nature "unspoiled"

John Bartram & William Bartram journey into Carolina and Florida

Cadwallader Colden

the natural history of the Americas: the geology, botany and zoological portrait of the place.

1765-Florida and the Carolina


wild areas were sanctuaries -- Bartram sees the wilds of Florida as a garden and Adam Seybert saw the northern marshes as a balancing landscape, necessary for creation to function as God intended.


Bartam's extraordinary insights:

timeless scenic qualities

earth to man at creation

unfinished landscapes in need of improved reclamation


Contrasting sentiments created ambivalence

frightened by the ocean

John Singleton Copley

"pestiferous wetlands"

Washington Allston and Winslow Homer -- conflicting moods

Thomas Cole: Mt Desert Island


Cole and a companion visited Maine's coast to paint and capture the ambiance of the place.


Martin Johnson Heade's luminists revealing the play of light and dark

Winslow Homer

Emerson "nature a wild delight," Essay on Nature

Melville             "Water and meditation are wedded."

George Gordon Lord Byron, romantic poet



reclamation | urbanization | agrarianism | Boston | Romantic movement | Erie canal | early ecology | advocates


Byron's Childe HaroldÕs Pilgrimage

Sea's picturesque beauty

Astor and the Critics of industry Washington Irving -- literature of place

Irony of Astor's wealth -- 9/11 site actually


Materialist view of the developing nation --meaning a focus on only commercial measures of the worth of people or land.

A New York City intellect who studies of fisheries and nature led him to protect wildlife.



reclamation | urbanization | agrarianism | Boston | Romantic movement | Erie canal | early ecology | advocates


Erie Canal tied two watersheds together:

    1. The Hudson River to
    2. The Great Lakes

Mitchell 1801-1813      The Congressional Dictionary

formative period under-financed and ridiculed

science and protection were partners

Heath Hen protection and preserving the varied fishes of New York


Childe Hassam, Rocks at Mt. Desert Island.

The roots of ecological thinking

John James Audubon


Florida and LA - Newfoundland


Audubon and Bartram

shooting alligator's

observant naturalists and birds painted in native settings


tropical shoreline vegetation

biological understanding of the estuarine fringe

literature and lore

naturalists part of an ambivalent heritageĞa two-sided way of approaching preservation.



Two pioneers of ecological concepts:

Edmund Ruffin on the North Carolina outer banks

Henry David Thoreau about Massachusetts, Cape Cod



Pioneering species, succession and soil improvement



loblolly pine forests and soil creation

high salinity and oyster reefs

rice spread with malaria


Ruffin as critic of improvements

removal of water affected flood plains downstream

laissez-faire behavior  questioned!

Ruffin's depiction for a dredge "tearing" at the land



Thoreau and Cape Cod, 1849

Nauset marsh


Plains of Nauset , left mid-ground.


Superstitions as to fish declines

Indians and land as palimpsest we erase at our ignorance

Force of the ocean in shaping the landscape


Cape Cod was home to timber, sands, marshes and fisheries

Thoreau had both a

Mystical reverence and scientific eye            zonation         vegetative association

Poor shad -- "Who hears the fishes when they cry?"


Henry David Thoreau tied to Adam Seybert

Philosophical idealism, transcendentalism and descriptive nature study

Recreation and relax growth of with urbanism

Origins of coastal conservation

Growing sentiment expressed in Marshes of Glynn


Poem explained in terms of the salt grasslands

Peaceful contemplative place poems stanzas -- liberal marshes of Glynn

reveal the "Greatness of God"



Martin Johnson Heade, "Winding RIver." 1863 Oil on Canvas, American.


Heade and Bryant "the picturesque"


These naturalists, painters, and writers created the intellectual basis for society's later defense of wildlife, fisheries, & coastal preservation



New ecology

  reclamation | urbanization | agrarianism | Boston | Romantic movement | Erie canal | early ecology | two advocates