Summary of an Essay
The essay was written by Neil Maher in the year 2002. It mainly revolves on issues to do with the conservation of nature, from the reclamation of bare land to the preservation of the existing vegetation cover. He opens his writing with the story of young man in April 1963, who climbs without a shirt on a tall tree at the George Washington National forest. The young man prunes the branches of the tree from the top and then he uses the plant as mast to host the United States flag. This event and many more were at Camp Roosevelt (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 1).
The reformation activity was spearheaded by Civilian Conservation Corps. This was a movement of young men with able bodies and the energy to bring about environmental changes. Many young men were being recruited into the CCP movement and the criteria being applied was that, recruitment was to be for young single persons aged between 18- 25 years of age (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 2). There were high cases of unemployment and also this movement was a way to provide employment for the young people. Apart from the activity at Camp Roosevelt, the young men were recruited nationwide and they ended up planting very many trees amounting to more than two billion, they contributed in slowing of soil erosion in vast lands, constructed many reservoirs, vehicular bridges, hiking trails, miles of fences and at the same time they stocked American Rivers with many fish and eradicated predators in the national forests, prairies and farm lands (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 1).
Worth noting is that, the many young men joining the CCP had poor health conditions probably due poor feeding and poor living conditions due to unemployment. The CCP leaders lamented that these feeble youth could not handle hard work due to deteriorated muscles and this affected their performance very much. The CCP would most of the time provide a feeding program for the enrollees to boost their muscle power. These changes would be noticed just three to four months after their enrollment (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 4-6).
Apart from the well build bodies becoming a vital thing in the environmental conservation, the young men became very vocal in the political sphere. This was witnessed when the Congressional conservatives began attacking the New Deal due to its radicalism. But the CCP stood to its values saying that, during those adverse times of political turmoil, the Camps acted as centers to Americanize the youth and make even the enrolled non- American youth become Americans and the end up being responsible citizens. Through this effort, the national media started to publicize the CCP not only as a body promoting the environmental conservation but also enhanced the Americanization of the enrollees (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 9-11).
The Corps influenced the New deal politics to shun criticism and support the policies of the CCP. The movement also began influencing the American conservation movement’s politics which had turned into strong political forces in the progressive era. As time went by, the CCP redefined the progressive conservationist philosophy by equating their input with that of restoring the degrading environmental surrounding (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 12-15).
The CCP was abolished in June 1942. This did not deter the movement from continuing to influence the enrollees for long even after the Second World War. Many of the former enrollees of the CCP later got work with conservation- related fields after the war ended. Although the activities of the movement are no longer referenced by historians, these activities influenced not only the New deal politics but also saw to the expansion of the composition of the conservation movement beyond the progressive era of the elites and still expanded to cover humans and also the natural resources (Neil Maher 2002, Pg 23-27).
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Neil Maher, ” A New Deal Body Politic: Landscape, Labor, and the Civilian Conservation Corps” (2002), Web, ‘ http://neilmaher. com/documents/bodypolitics. pdf