By Robert B. Keiter, University of Utah. Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment
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Additional info for Reclaiming the native home of hope: community, ecology, and the American West
But if Lincoln balanced national sovereignty on the deep democratic principles of the Declaration and on the equally profound imperatives of the continental land form, he would also be the first to understand how nationhood could become more of a hindrance than an aid to democratic self-determination. Jefferson and Paine had argued that the real test of a democratic people lies in its ability to recognize when the system it has inherited no longer serves the pur- Page 14 suit of human well-being.
In his incisive biography of John Wesley Powell, Wallace Stegner pens a powerful description of Powell's impact: Order is the dream of man. It was a dream of John Wesley Powell more than of most, and he never questioned that an order could be discovered Page xvi or perhaps to some degree created, by the human mind and the scientific method. The larger syntheses that he attempted in several areas . . turned out always to be working syntheses only, sure to be periodically discarded and replaced.
That range had a name: it was called a region, and the recollection of what region meant gave deeper meaning to the sovereignty of all the wide-ranging, majestic "charismatic megafauna," from grizzly to eagle. Everything about the wolf was attuned to its region, from the incredible strength and endurance of its powerful hindquarters, evolved to carry it tirelessly across miles of mountainous landscape to where the howl it had Page 4 just answered told of a kill that needed defending, to the throat itself, shaped by the mountains and their lakes to reach across them to secure its reign.