Douglas Brinkley: Buffering the Grand CanyonRoundup: Historians' Take
IN 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt didn’t need a guidebook to tell him that the Grand Canyon was the most precious heirloom the United States possessed. Staring out for the first time from the canyon’s rim at the immensity of the chasm, he trembled with sheer joy. This was America’s Westminster Abbey, Louvre and Taj Mahal rolled into one.
Back then, the Arizona Territory was debating whether to preserve the canyon or mine it for zinc, copper, asbestos and other minerals. A similar threat looms today over the canyon vistas just beyond the park’s boundaries, where mining companies, foreign and domestic, have been filing claims to extract uranium from the surrounding national forest.
The idea of letting miners loose on the Grand Canyon struck Roosevelt as criminal. To him, the canyon was an American birthright. “In your own interest and the interest of all the country keep this great wonder of nature as it now is,” he told a crowd of Arizonans assembled for his visit. “You cannot improve upon it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- A military cemetery whose African American history is hidden in plain sight in Philadelphia
- Texas Senate increases education board's textbook veto power
- The Secret Transcripts of the Six-Day War
- Buried at an Asylum, the ‘Unspoken, Untold History’ of the South
- New Orleans removes monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee
- Mark Moyar explains why he came to believe the Vietnam War was winnable
- How should Texas high schoolers learn history?
- What's the 'greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history’?
- H.R. McMaster criticized – and not for his defense of Trump
- Yale’s David Blight is asked if New Orleans rewrite its Civil War legacy