“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” – John James Audubon
A lot of modern day environmentalists and the like love to pretend that early Americans saw the wilderness only as a place of strange wildness to be visited but not protected. While it is true that dominion was a common theme in those bygone days, so was stewardship and the idea that nature was necessary to mankind’s well-being. Thomas Jefferson stands out as being a great example of a Founding Father who often spoke on stewardship, careful cultivation of the land and quite obviously sent out the Lewis and Clark expedition to survey quite a lot of wilderness.
John J. Audubon is often overlooked. Yet, there was a reason he went out to catalog birds. It was not for a fine dining menu, was it? Thoreau did not pop up out of nowhere did he? Emerson wrote on Nature as an essayist. So, let’s just say that many of the founders were more than a little busy at setting out the laws pertinent to wise governance of land and not that they didn’t put any thought into it.