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Nature's New DealThe Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Enviromental Movement$
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Neil M. Maher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306019.001.0001

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From Top‐Down Conservation to Bottom‐Up Environment

(p.181) SIX / PLANNING
Nature's New Deal

Neil M. Maher (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter Six examines how the popular debate over the very meaning of conservation influenced New Deal planning during the so-called “third New Deal.” It focuses on Franklin Roosevelt's failed attempt, beginning in 1936, to rekindle support for his administration by reorganizing the federal government and creating a Department of Conservation under the Department of the Interior's Harold Ickes. This part of the book argues that the defeat of the conservation department was due less to the weakened power of the Roosevelt administration than to the indefinite status of the conservation movement during the late 1930s. To illustrate this, Chapter Six examines how the national debate over CCC work projects forced Roosevelt to embrace a more holistic, ecological approach to federal planning best exemplified by the National Planning Board, as well as a more cooperative and integrated conservation agenda through programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority. And while these new notions of “ecological planning” and “total conservation” never became institutionalized in a new Department of Conservation, Chapter Six concludes that the failure of Franklin Roosevelt's reorganization plan forced these two beliefs into the public sphere. The result was a new form of special interest politics expressed in movements such as grassroots environmentalism.

Keywords:   planning, third New Deal, Department of Conservation, Harold Ickes, ecology, Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, environmentalism

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