Theodore Roosevelt: Of Mice and Men, Birds and Bison
Pioneers of Environmental Law (12 Tables Press 2020) (ed. Laitos), Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 20, 2019
This book chapter celebrates the conservation victories of President Teddy Roosevelt, and examines the lasting implications of his use of strong, often unilateral, executive power over federal public lands and wildlife. It assesses Roosevelt’s ability to deploy his expertise as a naturalist in the campaign for wildlife protection and hunting ethics. It also highlights the creation of wildlife refuges, in particular Pelican Island and the National Bison Range, and national monuments, including the Grand Canyon. Along the way, Roosevelt’s impacts on the nascent National Park System are illuminated. Although much ink has been spilled on all of these subjects, this chapter strives to present Roosevelt’s legacy in a new and different light by placing it in the context of modern environmentalism and executive power.
Roosevelt took center stage during a pivotal moment in conservation history, and he charted a course for subsequent presidents, both with respect to conservation-related measures and with respect to the exercise of sweeping presidential powers. Drawing parallels between the early twentieth century executive office and the early twenty-first century executive office reveals some compelling themes relevant to conservation and democracy. The chapter concludes with a comparative assessment of Roosevelt and President Trump, and draws insights about the role of the presidency in national conservation initiatives and counter-initiatives.
Keywords: Roosevelt, Conservation, National Monuments, Antiquities Act, Wildlife, Refuges, Reserves, Withdrawals, Public Lands, Executive Power, Executive Orders, Separation of Powers
JEL Classification: K00, K1, K10, K32, Q20, Q30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation