The history of American environmentalism leading up to the nineteenth century is a tale of sputtering, hesitant, staccato fits and starts. An environmental movement as it is thought of in the twenty-first century did not yet exist. Native Americans and the occasional lone dissenter decried the despoliation of nature, but their goals were not altogether coherent; as a result, alarms frequently fell on deaf ears. The natives touted the advantages of a simple, rustic lifestyle-man living in harmony with nature-yet how many individuals escaped from a primitive existence at their first opportunity? Rousseau praised the virtues of natural man, but the witty, urbane, educated, cosmopolitan philosopher could not be found living in a mud hut. Crèvecœur expounded on the democratic values of farming, but late in life he abandoned his adopted land to return to his ancestral home in Europe. The chasm between talk and action, between philosophy and practice, often appeared deep and wide.2