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Changes in the Land Essay


Submitted By gracegiardina
Words 1086
Pages 5
Grace Giardina
Mr. Mark Carson
HIST 2055
11 Feb 2015

Changes in the Land Essay
In William Cronon’s book Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, he discuses the ecological history of New England from the late sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century. He demonstrates how the New Englanders changed the land by illustrating the process of the change in the landscape and the environment. In the Preface Cronon states, “My thesis is simple: the shift from Indian to European dominance in New England entailed important changes—well known to historians—in the ways these people organized their lives, but it also involved fundamental reorganizations—less well-known to historians—in the region's plant and animal communities" (Cronon xv). Throughout the book he expands on his thesis and describes the rapid transformation of New England land, their culture, and economically.
In the beginning of the book, Cronon describes the changes that occurred in New England between 1600 and 1800. He starts the chapter off by discussing Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden. Throughout that book, Thoreau states that people have the biggest effect on nature, and that everyone should care for it. On page 4 Cronon states, “a changed landscape meant a loss of wildness and virility that was ultimately spiritual in its import, a sign of declension in both nature and humanity”. The changes in the nature and wilderness that Cronon mentions are much more than just the physical environment, but the change in the land changes the culture. Cronon states that each person has an effect on nature, but every person affects it differently. Walden is Cronon’s leeway to him discussing the ecological impact that the Europeans had when settling in New England. He refers back to the writings of the first European settlers to describe the lands and how the

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