colonial period into an era of exploitation of natural resources

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colonial period into an era of exploitation of natural resources

Question: colonial period into an era of exploitation of natural resources

OverviewIn this lesson we will continue our journey through history (1800’s) moving from the colonial period into an era of exploitation of natural resources accompanying America’s westward expansion. During the colonial era, westward expansion was limited to the fringes of the colonies. With its recent independence from England and the need to provide resources for a growing population and economic development, America was poised to expand westward. At this time, natural resources were seen as never ending—an era of exploitation of America’s natural resources influenced by the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase from France, and America’s self-proclaimed right to expand west to the Pacific—Manifest Destiny, all contributed to westward expansion. The value toward nature was continuing to evolve in the American culture. In addition to economic interests, Romanticism and Nationalism shaping the attitudes toward nature/wilderness in the American culture, a new value, Transcendentalism—the relationship among man, nature and God, emerged.

OverviewThe goal of this discussion board is for each student to reflect on America’s changing values toward nature—from those values of the early settlers to the values held by Americans throughout the 19th century.


  • To understand why the 19th century is known as an era of exploitation of America’s natural resources/nature/etc.
  • To identify the factors for America’s westward expansion.
  • To identify the impact of Transcendentalism on America’s view toward nature.
  • To understand how painters influenced an appreciation for wildness.
  • To be able to explain America’s shift toward an appreciation of nature toward the end of the 19th century.
  • To continue developing your own personal values and views toward nature and natural landscapes.

QuestionsIs it acceptable to exploit our natural resources for progress?

300-350 words

ReadingsRead the following from our textbook and additional resources. All of these are required readings for this week.

  • Nash, R. (2014).Wilderness and the American Mind(5th edition). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Chapters 5 and 6, pp. 84-107.
  • Turner, F. (1893). Significance of the American frontier in American history. In The Frontier in American History. Pp.1-38. [available at e-reserves]

InstructionsKeep your eyes open for the following key terms or phrases as you complete the readings. These topics will help you better understand the content in this lesson.

  • Transcendentalism
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Era of exploitation
  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Westward expansion
  • Economic interests

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