tv Megan Kate Nelson Saving Yellowstone CSPAN May 26, 2022 2:48pm-4:22pm EDT
megan kate nelson is a writer and historian living in lincoln, massachusetts. she has written about civil war making kate nelson is a writer and historian living at lincoln massachusetts. she has written about civil war, u.s. western history, and american culture for the new york times, the washington post, smithsonian magazine, presentation wagons in, and civil war monitor. nelson her and her b.a. in history literature from the harvard university, and our ph.d. american studies from the university of iowa. she has taught at texas tech university, cal state, fullerton, harvard, brown.
nelson is the author of saving yellowstone, ruin nation, trembling. earth we're so excited to have her with us today. before i turn it over to her, just a quick note, we have sent out an email to everyone this morning that had just a great list of resources like a bibliography that meghan had put together. you all should've received that by now. if not, that link is posted in the chat. with that, please join me in welcoming meghan kate nelson. >> hi everyone. thank you so much. thank you, nicole, for that lovely introduction. and to the mystery in estonia sits for the invitation to be with you tonight. i would also like to think harmony, ellen, steve, anna, liz for running this show and to help me get all the tech straight. i cannot think a better place for me to talk about saving yellowstone then at the
smithsonian. as you will learn tonight, the institution played a really important role in both the exploration and the preservation of this iconic national landscape. thank you all for being with me tonight. as nikole noted, there will be a q&a after the top. please feel free to ask questions along the way. we'll get to as many of those questions as we can by the end. image alive, 1871, a 22-year-old university of pennsylvania graduate student named robert adams scrambled down from the rim of the grand canyon of the yellowstone to the precipice of the lower falls. creeping to the edge of an overhanging cliff, adams wrote later, to the philadelphia inquirer we gaze below until dizziness made us withdraw. oh, it was grand, sublime, a site never to be forgotten.
on his climb back up to the rim, adams pulled a handful of germans rushed out of the ground. a common sight along river banks in alpine areas of the mountain west, this flowering plant grew in large clusters. it is brown, yellow, purple red flowers waiting in the breeze. adams was the botanist on the yellowstone expedition of 1871. he had been collecting plants and flowers throughout the team's trip from omaha nebraska to the middle of the yellowstone basin. when he got back into camp from the lower falls, adams pressed the stems of the germans rush between sheets of paper and pulled a label out of his satchel. on it, he wrote out the name of the specimen, the day he collected, it the location, and then he signed it. he placed the sheets with the label attached in a box with hundreds of other botanical specimens to be sent first by wagon, then by train, to the smithsonian institution in washington d.c.. the samples of germans rush,
which you see here, on the slide, now sit in a folder stacked in a cabinet at the national museum of natural history. they are fragments of the u.s. western flora that are archived in the east. they are also material evidence of fernand hayden's ex petition of 1871. the first scientific exploration of yellowstone with led to the passage of the yellowstone act in 1872 getting the first national park in the world, 150 years ago. in my new book, saving yellowstone, i tell the story of hayden's expedition. i interviewed the story with two other narratives. the narrative of capital investment and the white settlement of the west. and the story of indigenous resistance to those efforts of government officials, u.s. soldiers, businessman and scientists to take their homelands from them. in this moment, in 1870, one 72, yellowstone really became an iconic landscape in america. it also became a metaphor for
the nation itself. a place that was both beautiful and terrible. the question that i always get, always want to ask of people in the audience, when did you go first to yellowstone? have you've been there? we have a quiz for you, in the audience, pull just to see how many of you have actually been there. if you have visited the park, when was your trip? did you go as a child? did you go as an adult with your own children. was it recently? was it really, really long ago? as you can see, from the slides, my first trip was long ago, in july of 1982. almost 40 years ago now. these are pictures from our family trip when i started to write the book i had my father go into the garage, dig out the slides from that trip. i sent them off to be converted
to jpegs. it was great fun to look at them when they arrived. this family vacation was pretty incredible yellowstone is really our first stop we went there from glassware, calgary, came all the way back around. over the course of two weeks. these family trips, we started taking these two-week summer vacations. they really shaped me as a historian of american landscapes. so, here we have the results of the poll. 96% of you have been there. that is amazing. that is a really large number. even today, yellowstone is quite hard to get to. you really have to try. you can't just be wandering by on the way to somewhere else. that is really great. it looks like an even shared people who had as children, went as adults, it looks like about a third of you have been in the past five years. that's great, that's great. this is my first trip, my
second trip was just this past september. i was supposed to go in may of 2020 for my first research trip for the book. of course, the pandemic scheduled that was planned. this was really a bummer for me, i like to go to the places that i study and that i research, i like to be in the landscape, not necessarily for sense of history, to actually see the landscape and experience it as people in the past may have experienced it. even though, of course, there has been natural changeover times it is not exactly the same. i like to be there so i can understand what the people saw and experienced. these family trips we are really important to me too. i learn to love history. finding us on maps bound into
the road atlas, if there are people who remember that. i love a good road atlas. tracking us as we drove along. it really isn't a surprise that when i became a historian, i was really drawn to environmental history, to landscape studies. when i really started thinking about yellowstone, when i was writing the three cornered war. that was my previous book. there is a protagonist in that book who is a surveyor general of new mexico territory, a guy named john clark, a friend of lincoln's, a republican appointee in the 1860s. this led me to some background research in the history of serving in america. i ran across that hayden expedition of 1871. i had actually studied it in graduate school, in a class in our history. we'll see why in a little bit in the top why that would have been something that i would
have studied in that context. i realized, this was about 2000, 18 i realize we're coming up on the 150th anniversary of both the expedition and the passage of the yellowstone act. which was a direct result of that expedition. for historians, i think for a lot of us, anniversaries are really important moments for us to really take stock of events, of places, why events occur, why places became important and the way that they did. how they're important today. really, reckon with that. the place that these places hold in our society. that was an important element. i started to look around and see what had been written on hayden's expedition. thea lot of great books have bn written about it. right about that survey, right about the other great surveys that were out at the time. which i will talk about in a second. a lot of great books have also
been published about the long history of yellowstone. ejaculate army hands magisterial to volume history. i i know i said the sources for you to look at, there is a full bibliography in the book itself. there's a whole list of sources that you can look at, primary documents, and also secondary sources that can give you a better sense of this period. it really surprise me that nobody had looked in-depth at the effort to explore and preserve yellowstone in its historical context. but i also realized, this survey, the passage of the yellowstone act are happening in 1871 and 72. which are right in the middle of reconstruction. which is not a period that we think of as taking place in the west, having anything to do with the west. that became really interesting to me.
so, i just written a book that looked at the civil war from a really unexpected place, the far west. i began to think, well, when i look at it reconstruction from yellowstone? when i come to know reconstruction differently? when i learned something new about it by looking at it from the geyser basin, the lower falls, the grand press matt expressing, as in the slide. as you have been there. when i learned something new about yellowstone itself by thinking about it in the context of reconstruction? first, before i get to the nitty-gritty of hayden and his expedition, i wanted to give you a background in reconstruction history. this is a period that's getting a little more attention today. really, i know when i was in school, we kind of went through it really quickly on the way
from the civil war to the gilded age. we didn't really study it a lot in-depth. it really is an important, informative moment in our nation's history. it deserves more attention. after the civil war, there are many challenges facing the u.s. government, all americans. how does a nation recover from four years of violent conflict? just incalculable loss of life, of farms, of cities, of railroads. how do for million people transition from a life of enslavement to a life of freedom? there are so many challenges, their economic challenges, political challenges, of course, cultural challenges in this moma. one of the challenges of court was stabilizing the national economy in the south. many of the factories, the railroads had been destroyed. they had to be rebuilt. this required really northern capital investment. most of the base of southern
capital from before the war, which constituted, which was constituted by enslaved human beings, did not exist anymore. that is -- free labor in agriculture. there was a whole turn in that context to share cropping, a whole system of indebtedness that really sustained cycles of poverty for black southerners, from might southerners in the years after the war. and for the years to come. g t hethat north was in a little better shape, as what's west. manufacturing and agriculture had really bloomed during the war, but still did not regain the prewar case of out put until the mid 18 70s so there was that big challenge of how do we get the economy back on track and how do we get people into professions and earning money and supporting their families again after the destructive civil war? another challenge was how to bring the photo confederate
states back into the union. the reconstruction congress had passed a series of laws requiring revamped state constitutions for reentry. there's a states had to pass depending on where they were applying to return, the 13th, the poor 14 that ultimately the 15th amendments. each state had to hold free and fair elections to bring their new representatives to washington d.c. to be seated in congress. and by 1870, this process was mostly complete. all the former confederate states where back in the union, they had seated members in congress, majority of them were republicans. because former confederates who were often democrats were not allowed to hold office during this period. all of these programs faced resistance from a lot of different areas from andrew johnson, who had taken over the presidency after the assassination of abraham lincoln. he expressed his objections pretty early on and his desire to implement a kind of kinder
and gentler reconstruction in the south. he used his veto power to try to derail radical reconstruction projects, and he did not succeed. in his resistance, led to his impeachment trial in the spring of 1868. there was also widespread resistance from many white southerners who almost immediately on their return from the battlefields and the return to peace tried to reassert their power over black americans through the passage of black codes, which restricted behavior and labor, and other repressive measures, as well as a vigilante violence through organizations like the ku klux klan, which really emerged in a strong way in 1868 and the years afterward. there's also a great deal of resistance from democrats from across the nation. it's important to remember that in this period democrats and republicans had to sort of opposite ideologies as they have today. democrats were opposed to the republican party's use of
federal power to secure black rights, although they were more amenable to using this power to expand white settlement into the west, and we'll get into more of that later. so things began to change a little bit when ulysses s grant was elected in 1868. grant had been a career military manner who quit the army in the years before the civil war, flooded around a bit, trying to find his way before rejoining the military during the civil war, and here he found his real talent, which was fighting military campaigns and leading men into battle. after the war he served as the general of the armies for johnson, profoundly disagreed with johnson on most matters involving reconstruction, and really wanted to honor abraham lincoln, who was a friend of his, and who's a vision for the future of the south, for black equality and black voting, he
did support. he also wanted to honor the sacrifice of so many u.s. soldiers who had fought to the union, you know, who he had led to battle and who had died under his watch. he was having none of it from the white southerners. he had very little tolerance for them, very little sympathy for them. he saw their resistance to federal measures and to the 14th and 15th amendments as a renewed rebellion against the federal government. and that shaped, really, his response. but he was elected with this campaign slogan, which you can see on this commemorative handkerchief ear, let us have peace. and he really did want to bring the south back into the nation, but he did want to ensure that all the citizens of the south were equal in that effort. he also meant notice of peace
to apply to the west. so this was an interesting, sort of, two-pronged approach that he and his administration took, supported by congress during this period. you know, one big question for grant was how to provide and protect civil rights for more than 4 million feet people across the south, how to make sure that states where protecting their citizens and protecting their 14th and 15th amendment rights. particularly the 14th amendment, which was passed in june of 1866, ratified in 1868, and affirming the citizenship status and civil rights of all people born or naturalized in the united states that sa there was [inaudible] to it though that becomes important during this period. we have a parenthetical day that says, except indians and taxed. and that's the quote. and that is an important
omission, because most white americans, including ulysses s grant, did not believe that native people were citizens or really could be citizens if they continued to live in their traditional ways. so, in this moment, there is interest in both the south and the west, and to this and, grant beat two very interesting and progressive appointments in his first term in. the first was the appointment of ely parker as commissioner of indian affairs. some of you may be familiar with parker, if you know a fair bit about the civil war. he was on ground's staff. he is a seneca man of great education and experience, had come to the grant in galina before the war, and grant really appreciated his intelligence and also his penmanship. he was the one who wrote out the surrender documents for
grant and the ad appomattox so he really wanted to bring ely parker into the bureau of indian affairs and he did so in 1869. he also appointed amos akerman as his attorney general. akerman was a really interesting figure. he was a georgian he, was a former confederate officer, but he was a man who having returned from the war actually embraced radical reconstruction, believed that the south needed to kind of move into the future and provide equality for all citizens, and he came into the grant administration in 1870. so both grant and congresswoman decisions disappeared to exert federal power in the south and the west, helped by the ely parker and amos akerman. in the south, akerman directed a newly created a department of justice effort to prosecute the ku klux klan in south carolina
in the fall of 1871. and she really encouraged grant toward taking various strong action, particularly in south carolina, where kkk violence was very bad, the worst of the nation. so in october of 1871, with the power given to him by the kkk act, passed by the congress in the spring, a grant suspended the rate of habeas corpus in multiple counties in south carolina so that officials could arrest clan members immediately and keep them in jail until they were prosecuted. and from november 1871 to april 1872, u.s. attorneys tried hundreds of clan members, charging them with conspiracy to violate the 14th and 15th amendment rights of black southerners, most of these cases were successful, and many clan members were sent to jail. now, i should note that most of these members where the rank and file. the leadership of the kkk, the minute that grant started making noise about potential
arrests, fled the country or flip the state, and they could not be found and arrested. so, the kkk trials were really a high water mark for republicans and for the federal government. during reconstruction, and during the 19th century, in asserting federal supremacy to really protect the rights of the nation's most vulnerable citizens. a black americans wore could not receive this kind of protection from the federal government again until the 1960s. in the west, ely parker and sort of an interesting vision for the native citizenship and representation that he shared with grant and sort of pushed him to embrace, and grant was pretty amenable. parker was and asimilationist which meant that he argued for the abandonment of indigenous traditions and the embrace of christianity, english language,
individual land ownership and other workers of american civilization. but he also imagined gathering indigenous peoples into one or two large reservations that would become territories and is then admitted to the union as states so that indigenous peoples would have consistent representation in congress. this was a completely novel idea at the time and i think in the years since then as well. grant was on board and so parker until parker resigned in the summer of 1871 and kind of stopped pushing him toward this goal. there was no congressional support among republicans or democrats for this vision, for ely parker himself the. 14 amendment, as i noted before, tonight the rights of citizenship to most native peoples during this period, and it really was at this point in the early 1870s that federal indian policy began to shift.
in march of 1871, congress inserted a writer into an indian appropriations act basically stating that there would be no more treaties made between the federal government and native nations, that congress would abide by the treaty's already made up to that point, particularly the fort and there will be treaty, which was a very big treaty of 1868. however, from this point forward, they would no longer actually establish treaty relations, which meant that they would no longer recognize native sovereignty. they would try to make peace agreements, but from this point forward, the government would use military force as a first resort instead of a second or third resort, and this is a moment where we really see u.s. army campaigns against native peoples start to escalate in order to pave the way in the west for white settlement. the goal was to force native peoples on to reservations and then reduce the size of those
reservations to sell the remaining land off to white settlers. so there were other national projects that were underway at this time that had this same goal, to establish white settlers in the west and bring the west more fully into the union, politically, economically, and culturally. one of those was the transcontinental railroad, which was actually a civil war action that was passed in 1862, completed in 1869, and you could see this a very famous photo here of the moment when the two lines which were being built from either and the, west and the east, connected in utah. and this was seen as a ground technological achievement that would unite the nation. americans had been dreaming about a transcontinental line since the 18 40s and saw it as the basis for american manifest destiny. also included in this vision where the great service of the
late 18 60s and early 1870s. now, the federal government had been launching the surveys of its land since its creation in the 18th century, and especially after lewis and clark's expedition to the pacific in 1804, through 1806. many of these early survey teams were led by u.s. military officials and there was a turn in the 1850s, delayed 1850s, after the great land sessions of america's war of conquest in mexico and then after the civil war to a civilian leadership of service with military protection. so areas in this time period were really kind of freelance operators and they went every year in the winter to congress and lobby them for money to take teams out in the spring and summer. they were instructed to evaluate the lands from the pacific to the missouri river,
and to determine their potential years for agriculture, for ranching, for mining and other forms of development. and where they returned, they had to report everything that they had found along these lines, produce maps, and publish a report for the federal government. so these surveys were really meant as hundreds of conquest, and the white settlement of the best. there were not in this moment focused on land preservation. but at this time, americans were really searching for iconic landscapes to feel good about the country and to convince them of the country's exceptionalism. and i think this is quite a common instinct especially either in the midst or in the wake of kind of very chaotic and destructive moments in our american history. i was writing about this very
issue just as the mars perseverance project was happening and the rover landed successfully on mars in february of 2021 and i felt like i was it was a similar situation, you know it. the middle of the pandemic, we're just having a terrible time, and here is this amazing scientific achievement, here is a moment where people have engaged in this pursuit that actually succeeded and now we have a rover on mars and i just remember feeling really uplifted by that. and americans were searching for that feeling in this moment. he country and tothis is the era te producing content for middle class americans. helping them to understand the country, to feel good about it. this is also the era of the great american landscape painters. albert b or stop, frederik and wouldn't shirt, we will talk about thomas moran and a minute. producing these really huge landscape paintings of the
american west, of niagara falls, helping to create a sense that america was really nature's -- america didn't have the ruins of european civilization to show its long, long history. but america had niagara and yosemite. and now yellowstone. amazing natural wonders that prove that the united states had a long and distinguished history. this was the contacts and which ferdiand hayden organized his scientific expedition to yellowstone. here is a photograph of him here, born into poverty, a child of divorce. unlike many scientist of the period who came from a elite family, hayden led a hard life. it made him really scrappy. he was ambitious, he was competitive, sometimes so much so that his colleagues really
came to dislike him. his family figured out he was really smart and managed to send him to oberlin college. that is where he discovered a love of science in the early 18 50s. he also discovered that he had a talent for collecting and identifying fossils. this was really interesting to me, that you would have such a talent. apparently, it is quite hard to go and look at a rocky outcropping, spot fossils in it, and immediately understand how significant they are to geologists. in answering some of the most important questions of the day, which were about how old the earth really was. and how it was evolved. the fossil record was helping scientists in this moment to determine that. hayden finally had a talent for. it he really relish the idea of being in on all of these
conversations about the earth and its evolution. he joined several military led expeditions in the 1850s and 1860s, finally lead his own survey as a civilian in 1867 for the new state of nebraska. he began to envision for himself not just a feature as a collector of specimens, but a future as a scientist explorer. perhaps, he hoped, one of the most prominent and most famous scientific explorers in america. . and the early phase of his career hayden's mentor was spencer fullerton baird, we see here. the assistant secretary of the smithsonian institution. an 1848, spencer baird was the first recipient of a smithsonian grant for the purpose of exploration and
natural history collecting. he took a trip in southern pennsylvania. he was then appointed in 1850 to be assistant secretary. four years after the smithsonian's establishment. he brought with him to entire railroad cars of specimens, including 4000 bird skins that he had collected himself during his early life. this served as the basis of the smithsonian's collections in this early period. he was a tremendous logistical manager and networker his. greatest talent was identifying and collecting scientists. hayden had written to baird in 1853, very early on in his career, asking for advice and for funding for a fossil collecting trip to the upper missouri river badlands, which geologist were already calling the bone yard floor it's amazing collection of fossils
and distribution across the fossil record. these of course were lakota lands. we will talk about that a little bit later. k fossils andspencer baird wrotk immediately, sent him some money and some advice about how to collect and pack fossils. of course, in return as for several of the specimens for the smithsonian's collections. this began a multi decade friendship and partnership, hayden was establishing himself as a scientist during this period in the 18 50s and 60s. baird was establishing the mid smithsonian as a world-class scientific institution. both men took a little bit of time off during the civil war. . hayden didn't really want to go to war, but sort of was forced into it in 1862. and served as a physician because he had a medical degree. that's how you actually did the course work that would enable you to become a geologist during this period of time. he went off to the war, came
back in 1865. and then started, as i noted, to lead surveys on his own. at this point, yellowstone really was one of the and mapped places in the nation. as i noted before, when we had the poll, yellowstone is hard to get to now. it was even harder to get to, especially with 1869 with the completion of the transcontinental railroad, there were some amateur explorers who were getting in there though. there had been some scouts and some trappers who had gone into yellowstone and came out with stories, voting geysers, bubbling streams, my volcanoes, cliffs made of glass, nobody believed them. scouts and trappers were known to be liars. they were always telling tall tales around the fire. who is going to believe them? the white population of montana was growing during this period.
there were some amateurs from montana who decided that they wanted to go check out yellowstone for themselves to see if these rumors were true. there was one small group that went in 1869. then another more prominent and more famous group in 1870 led by nathanael langford who was official turned montana booster who came to montana during the gold rush 1863. now brought together a group of man who helped positions in montana's territorial government. who are about to rotate out. they gather together a team, got a military escort from the second calgary, posted for ellis and bozeman and entered yellowstone basin in the summer of 1870. this expedition was notable for producing two very prominent articles that were published in springer's monthly. also a lecture tour by
langford. hayden actually saw langford's top and washington d.c. in the winter of 71 72. this is what convinced him he needed to get to yellowstone right away. he wanted to keep it out of the hands of amateurs. he wanted to claim it for science and he wanted to go, he did not want to miss the chance to make his mark and claim yellowstone for professional scientist and for the nation. he began to lobby congress for funding in the late winter early spring of 1871. they gave him $40,000. which is a lot of money, it is close to, in today's money, about 1 million dollars to take a group, a rather large group, a larger team than hayden had ever brought together before and to get them to yellowstone and back in the summer of 1871. the goal was to explore yellowstone. not to preserve it, this was never part of hayden's plan from the beginning. he never even really thought
about it until later. he was supposed to, as most of areas were, to evaluate yellowstone for development. hayden's personal goal also is to establish himself as the nation's foremost explore scientists. really make his reputation in yellowstone. spencer baird encouraged him in this. he thought that yellowstone would be the perfect place for hayden to do this. any kind a bigger survey would just be more general and not as interesting. yellowstone was where he would make his mark. en that point and as i noted on march 3rd, congress appropriated the $40,000. between that point and may, hayden was recruiting scientists and organizing his supplies with the help of spencer baird. and the smithsonian coffers bathers cooley. barry was also suggesting scientist to him. he very forcefully suggested that hate and take a young man
in rhetoric he was he was an ornithologist who baird believed in. hayden regretted that choice, he did not like hughes and never used him again. like the man who had given him money, he was very much invested in making spencer baird happy. he took cues along. he also -- who are writing to try to join the expedition, ended up with a fairly large scientific team. also a group of people i called the bucket the political boys, the sons of congressman, you hate and either on his side. all these people gather together and late may and omaha, nebraska. where they boarded union pacific trains to august, in utah. they made a pit stop in cheyenne, wyoming. they gathered supplies, most notably horses. and then made their way west. they spent a little bit of time in utah exploring haugen, exploring salt lake city, where
they also got supplies. salt lake city was a very important stop on the major road between california and colorado. they're also quite interested in what they would've considered the more curious aspects of salt lake city. its founding in mormonism, bring him young, it's presidents he spent a lot of time looking around their. they left on june 10th. for the real start of the expedition. moving northward along a stage road from of denver but antenna, there they had wagons, they had horses with them bringing all their supplies. by july 13th, they arrived at fort ellis in montana, just outside of bozeman. where they picked up their second calgary escort. by july 15th, the rat bottler's ranch, which was a ranting place run by german brothers in
the yellowstone river valley. if you have one gone to bozeman, driven to yellowstone that way, driven through that enters, you have driven by bottler's ranch road. which is the sight of that former ranch right there on the yellowstone river. you set off for yellowstone. they follow the river down. to where it meets the gardener. they really did only take horses and mules with them, they knew from reports that they weren't going to be able to get any wagons through any of the narrow canyons into yellowstone. they really jumped off until i 20th 1871. and spent a couple of months exploring the park. here is a map, you can see them at the very top of the map coming down along the yellowstone river, making a diversion up the garden or a little ways, where they saw for the first time what they called the white mountain.
which we now call, mammoth hot springs. lankford's team had not discovered this particular feature of yellowstone's great geothermal basins. hey don't really consider that this was an iconic moment in his survey. he emphasized it a lot in all of his written reports. he wanted to claim it as his own discovery. even though right at the base along the gardner river, they actually ran into some minors who are already taking the waters for various illnesses. clearly, they were not the first ones there. of course, indigenous peoples had been there for thousands of years. hayden's expedition could not have happened without a couple of things, the transcontinental railroad, supply depots, cities and towns, support from the u.s. military and then also the trails of the indigenous
peoples throughout the basin who had been using yellowstone as a thoroughfare, as a camping site, and a hunting ground for thousands of years. as they're moving along, hayden is noting in his reports and writing later that they were the first ones to see this. they were jumping off into the wilderness. and then he would just very i know actually say, and then we followed the path on the side of the structure up to the top of the white mountain. clearly, people had been there before. had been there many times before to pound out pathways. they basically followed past that had been laid out in this counter clockwise route, where they came down, came along the river, ended up at the lower falls, the upper falls of the yellowstone, climb out wash, when they called mount washburn, went to yellowstone lake, when they're a little bit animated big diversion to the west to go see the geyser basins.
to fort ellis in bozeman and at least butler's ra and they decided they really needed to get back, had to four foot 11, in bozeman and then [inaudible] went by the beginning of september. because i don't know if those of you have been to yellowstone, what time of year you went, but he knew, hayden knew from reports that the big snow storms we're going to start rolling in in early september. and in fact, when i went, when my husband and i went just this last kind of mix-up timber to yellowstone, we did get snowed on during that trip. so that still happens. for hayden it would have been disaster, his men would have been caught out with top many supplies and totally exposed to the elements. so he needed to get his team out of there as quickly as possible, and to have a successful survey. and they really did, they make a really complete survey of most of the features that we know and recognize in
yellowstone. most importantly, he was able to really get a sense of the geothermal regions. and even though the lower falls would become, kind of, the most spectacular visual iconic reference for yellowstone, after the survey, but it was the geothermal regions that saved it as a national park. and hayden understood this. hayden new once he saw that the lower and the upper geyser basins, once he saw old faithful, which had already been named, by the way, in that 1870 survey, he knew that this place was special. he knew it was iconic and he knew it was unique in all the world. because you know, scientists had already kind of discovered and explored a little bit the icelandic geysers and also some geyser basins in new zealand, but they were nothing compared to this in terms of the size and the number of features and the diversity of features. so it was really kind of
incredible you, know, a couple of minutes left the survey fairly early due to health reasons, but the survey proceeded without a hitch and when hayden wrote to spread spared at the end of it he almost couldn't busy belief is like that it had gone so very well. and currently, that was due to hayden's talents he. was an excellent scientist but he was also even, more so, a really great and leader of the survey. he allowed the men to create their own collecting teams, he give them instructions about collecting, and he expected them to work hard you. made it pretty clear to the political bias that if they did not pull their weight they would be jettisoned from the survey but. he really didn't crack down on them. he gave them a lot of lead and a lot of leeway. and they ended up collecting just a huge amount of specimens, 45 boxes, that they sent back to the smithsonian institution for analysis and collection. he was also quite a good writer.
he understood the power of language, of travel narratives in particular, in shaping the way people understand science. so he really played a very interesting role in the development of the genre of popular science writing. and you can see here i've included the title page from his scribner's monthly piece about the hayden expedition's journeys into the yellowstone. this illustration of course is based on thomas moran's very famous paintings that will talk about in a minute. but these peace, and i included a link in it to the eighth in the sheet that you got, because it is really a remarkable piece of writing, kind of takes your long on their journey and explains the science to you in very accessible language. so his job he had many things to right after he got back from the yellowstone he. was writing his piece for scribner's you, was writing more technical piece for a
scientific journal, and he was also writing a huge report, many hundreds of pages, for congress. so he had a lot on his plate here. it's also sending a specimens for scientists to analyze so that they would say to these reports, trying to ride herd, kind of, on everyone. he understood in this moment he actually asked winds william henry jackson to come back with him, a photographer, to help to organize the images for the report. because he knew not only was the written word important, but facial images were vital to conveying the meaning of a science in this period and the meaning and the significance of landscapes. so i just mentioned william henry jackson. this is a self portrait of his here on the left, and then two of his images from the survey, the top ad bottler's ranch so you can see the extent of that infrastructure there along the yellowstone river. and then his iconic photo, which i'm sure you have seen, of the white mountain, or
mammoth hot springs. that's actually thomas moran their, who is posing on the structure itself, which seems a little dangerous to us now. of course we're not allowed to clamber on over there and i wonder how close we came to losing moran into the depths of the white mountain. we would have lost one of the most amazing landscape painters in our country's history. but william henry jackson and hayden developed a very close relationship. jackson had grown up in four mart, he took to photography just as hayden had taken to fossil hunting he went west with a wagon train in the late 18 60s, after the civil war, after serving in the civil war. then he started a photographic gallery and studio in omaha, nebraska. he got a big commission in 1869, which was to take photographs along the union pacific line, and it was when he was engaging in that project in cheyenne, wyoming, that he met ferdinand hayden in a brothel. which was an encounter that he
remembered vividly, but hayden never wrote about, and you can imagine why. but the two of them met then, became friends when he didn't recruited him for an 1870 survey he was leading to southern wyoming, and just really loved jackson's photographed. felt like he had a great sense of place, that he knew where to place the camera, that he understood how to create a model studio, packet on to the back of a buell, and actually, you know, come through with intact and glass negatives. in this time, it was pretty extraordinary. so he came along, and he really had an important role to play because hate and felt, people during this period really believed that photograph conveyed reality. you know, now we know, with instagram and everything, that you can manipulate photographs and i can tell whatever story that you want them to tell. but in this period, photography
was still relatively new, had burst on to this theme most fully during the civil war, although it had been invented before that, and in this time the photographs really served as evidence that all of these features were here. i mean, who's going to believe descriptions of the white mountain without this official image here that perfectly represented it? you know, but they were also proof that he didn't have been there, and that the team had been there and then had come back with these images. so hayden understood the power of these here. wanted jackson with him for the creation of the congressional report and, he also used a lot of his image a bit later to lobby congress for the passage of the yellowstone act. also along although not adhesions in invitation was thomas moran a landscape painter whose family had immigrated from england before
the civil war. was moran born there, came to the united states, it grew up in philadelphia, in a family of artists, showed his talent for landscape painting very early on, but was just emerging at major page on the scene in 1871. he was also working as an illustrator for scribner's magazine and had created the woodcut illustrations for nathanael of langford's yellowstone account that was published in 1871. so, interestingly, had already envisioned yellowstone before he had actually gone there. in the summer of 1871, he was recruited by jay cooke, an investment banker had an interest in the northern pacific railroad and what it yellowstone documented for reasons all talk about in a second. he helped to fund thomas's trip as did scribner's and moran really wanted to render yellowstone in four color because of course this is the
advantage that painting has over photography. taxes photographs can give you a really good sense of the rich detail you, know the shop lines of all of these elements of yellowstone to missing natural structures, but moran could give you the color, right so? here are two of his water color sketches that he made. he made both pencil sketches and water colors, kind of in the moment. and then he went back after the survey to produce versions of some of these illinois and some of them that would go directly to jay cooke tell pay him back. so moran was captivated by some of the sites in yellowstone, particularly as a few of the lower falls from the canyon rim. he and jackson spent several days on the rim sketching and taking photographs, and moran even was so excited to start on this painting, which he called the big picture, that he
returned home early from the expedition to get to his studio in newark, new jersey, and get started on what became this just eight by 12 foot, humongous image of the lower falls of the yellowstone. again, probably the most iconic image of yellowstone national park. he finished it in late april of 1872, he exhibited it in new york city to great fanfare and, you know, the critics really loved the painting, they especially loved the color that he achieved with the cold along the sides of the canyon. and for those, you guys have been there, you have seen this exact scene and in fact the national park has a great kind of we finding placard that shows you the painting, kind of, right as you were looking at the scene itself, which is kind of a wonderful sort of layering. in the summer of, in the spring and summer of 1872, moran was a lobbying members of the library
committee who were the ones who purchased books and artworks for the library of congress and he was lobbying them to buy grand canyon of the yellowstone. and he really wanted them to buy it for $10,000 and the reason that he wanted that some is that the most expensive painting ever ever sold in the united states by an american pitcher had been frederick edmund churches niagara which sold for $10,000. so he wanted to match that or get more than that. but he got 10,000 which was an amazing amount of money and the painting after it was sold went on a bit of a tour of the east coast, was shown in the smithsonian along sign along some alongside some of george catlin's data paintings that he had executed in the 1830s and 40s, and then by the fall of 1872, it was hanging in the halls of congress. both jackson and's marine's
armor helped to make the case for the yellowstone act. he did actually created a little exhibited in the rotunda while he was a login lobbying for the others don't act. that included some of jackson's photos and some of moran's sketches and also mineral specimens, fossil specimens, and other items from the expedition. so speaking of the yellowstone act, this was any kind of amazing moment in the winter of 1871, and 1872. there had been ideas about parks, obviously, and about natural spaces that belonged to the people. the colonies had comments for centuries, but the idea that people needed green spaces where they could go and sort of, as you would say, either recreate or re-create themselves, right? wasn't idea that really emerged in the context of industrialization. rural cemeteries and then city
parks began to provide these spaces in the 1830s and 1840s. in 1832, congress actually did pass and andrew jackson signed legislation setting aside lands at arkansas hot springs as a federal reservation. so historians of conservation usually point to that as kind of this first moment where the government is taking control of the landscape for the people. in 1884, george kevin who had been a trip to the [inaudible] river suggested keeping all the lands from there to the pacific as a permanent national park that was not an idea that was widespread or had been taken up in any sort of way. the department of the interior was created in 1849, began to find it geological in geographic surveys, also took over the general land office, which surveillance of public lands. so their work was not really about preservation of conservation in this moment.
it's encompassed really all of potential land uses. so the real precedent for the yellowstone act was the yemen yosemite act of 1864. another wartime measure that gave the lands of yosemite and mariposa grove to the state of california to manage for the benefit of the people for public use, resort, and recreation. the yellowstone act, though, as a match, and it was a different kind of land taking. here, federal government was suggesting that they would take land from the territories and give it to the department of the interior to manage. and this was a new idea and this was a president setting idea because as you will see, some people had problems with this kind of idea as opposed to the idea of the yosemite act. the northernwhen meghan returne
yellowstone, he received a note from the pr man for jay cook of the northern pacific railroad, an investment banker who was raising money for the northern pacific. whose tracks, he hoped would run just north of the yellowstone basin. the letters suggested that hayden advocated for the creation of the national park in his piece for screeners and his report to congress. hayden had not lob this idea, he had not even thought of it before this point. immediately he took it up. he understood how important it would be. he understood how amazing would be for scientists to have this land preserved for the nation. and to keep it out of private hands. in november and december, he began to lobby, along with his scientific team, with members of congress to pass a yellowstone act. along with a group of montana boosters. also jay koch and his brother
henry who knew ulysses s grant personally and got him on the side of the bill. it was introduced in both the senate and the house on december 18th. it defined the boundaries of a new national park at that time. around 1700 square miles, which is about half as large as it is now. suggested taking those lands from wyoming and idaho and montana. again, giving those lands to the department of the interior for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. really creating this democratic landscape of tourism which was a new idea. the bill was sent to each bodies committee on public lands for review and recommendation. hayden consulted with those committees and help them to write their very positive reports. on january 30th, 1872, the senate debated, they had two major issues, one was federal overreach this was the contentious issue.
it brought up about the american civil war. it was not resolved in that conflict. again, the only congressional precedent was the federal government giving land to a state. democrats were very concerned about this issue, especially in the context of reconstruction. a period in american history when the federal government really exerted a self and unprecedented ways to protect the rights of citizens and provide things for them. republicans, of course, most of them, although a group of moderate republican started to voice their opposition to the federal overreach as well, most of them had no problem with it. part of their party pratt for most supremacy, they were interested in supporting and defending it. the second objection was that such an act would violate white settlers rights, which had been affirmed most recently in 1862 homestead act. was a central component of the american dream. that white americans had the right to take or buy whatever
lands they wanted. to farm, to ranch, or my. both democrats and republicans, most of them from the midwest, upheld settler rights. they called upon this long tradition. this objection was not strong enough in the senate to derail the bill. we don't know at the senate vote actually. was it was not a roll call. we cannot be sure who voted in what way. the measure passed by all reports easily. very likely, it was not unanimous. it took about a month for the house to really bring up the bell for the debate. there are the same concerns expressed there, as had been concerned, expressed in the senate. also there is an interesting moment when a republican representative from nebraska named john taft ask about lakota land claims in the area and whether or not yellowstone was encompassed in their territory laid out in the 1868
fort laramie treaty. for the most part, this was completely dismissed by henry dawes a massachusetts congressman who would later author the severalty act, which took treaty lands away from indigenous nations to sell to white americans. what he said to taft, the indians can no more live there than they can upon the precipitous size are the yosemite valley. dawes supported hayden surveys. he was one of the people that hate and lobby directly, he was one of the most powerful man in the house. his son, chester, had joined hayden in yellowstone. he was one of the political boys. so, on that day, february 20, seventh the vote was called 89% of republicans voted yes on the yellowstone act. 70% of democrats voted no. this was not unanimous, clearly.
the ones who are the outliers, there was no real regional breakdown. people were voting for and against from all different regions. it was just breaking down on those issues of white settler rights and overreach. the republican strong majority in the house though meant that that yellowstone act, which was bipartisan, had certainly not unanimous had passed. on march 1st, 1871, the bill landed on president ulysses s grant's desk. he signed it without any fanfare. most newspapers reported on, it reported on his passage, were pretty much added and positive about it as we see from this from the new york herald. it was often reprinted across the nation. they saw it as something that was good for the country good for summer travelers that it was a wonderful place that the united states needed to keep and to protect they saw the national park movement as something that could only happen in america.
some of them expressed directly. of the passage of the bill it was great news for jake cook, who have course had lobbied for it. cook, along with hate in, is one of the major protagonist of my book. he grew up in ohio. he started working as a clerk in a bank while still in his teens. he was quick with numbers, he really grasp the complexities of business and banking. and by the civil war he opened up his own investment bank called jay cook and company. he made his reputation and his fortune during the civil war selling more bonds to support the u.s. government and the army efforts. in the years on, he was casting about for a project that would give him that same sense of patriotism, a sense of purpose, it also make him money, and when he came upon was the nor the pacific railroad. he was a national project that was intended to be the second transcontinental line. it was actually called the centennial line.
it was supposed to be finished in 1876 to celebrate the nations anniversary. his brother henry believed that if they could pull this off, the northern pacific would be, quote, the grandest achievement of our lives. cook took control of fundraising for the northern pacific and 1870. from the start, it was really a disaster. railroads were and our volatile investments. nobody wanted a piece of it. the u.s. or in europe. koch was determined. he was obstinance. he thought that with enough advertising and promotion, the northern pacific could build its track and be a success. he saw hayden's yellowstone expedition and the nationals park at that yellowstone became as a boom to his project. he was wrong about that. he did not anticipate that another figure of the period would be working against him in the region. this is just, sorry, i
should've gone to the slide. these are two examples of the way that koch was using advertising and newspapers to really gin up some enthusiasm and bond sales for the northern pacific in 1871. the man standing in his way was tatanka iyotake, sitting, the hunkpapha lakota chief. born in 1830s along the upper missouri river to a family of war chiefs and community leaders. sitting bull was a member of the hunkpapha band of the lakota who are themselves one part of the oceti sakowin. the seven council fires, known at the time as the sioux. he grew up to be a widely suspected leader of the hunkpapha, establishing himself by the 1850s in 18 60s in fights, not only against the code as traditional enemies like the -- but also fights it against u.s.
soldiers. he began to appear in u.s. official documents in the late teens 60s as indian agents, army officers, and civil officials were beginning to take note of his leadership and his growing power. during this period, he consistently asserted his peoples rights to their homelands along the yellowstone river value and their sovereignty as a peep. but of diplomacy, -- who are trying to cross lakota homeland. sitting boldness came to clash with cooks pacific roiled surveyors who wanted to lay track right through his country. which extended spf in missouri river to the yellowstone basin. in the fall of 1871, his people pushed a group of surveys out of the valley and back to missouri. and the summer of 1872, the lakota fight to battles against u.s. troops that were
protecting surveyors moving from both the missouri river in the east and then also from the west from bozeman and fort alice. in august, the 14th and the 20 seconds, they fought the battle of aerial creek, and the battle of o'fallon creek. once again, sitting bowl succeeded and pushing the surveyors out and delaying the northern pacific railroad project. the next year, june of 1873, sitting bull's people met germs armstrong customer the first time. that officer led and not to pacific expedition west along the yellowstone. there is another fight, the americans once again retreated. really, when i came to see about these moments. they're really leading the lakota and the us army on a direct path to the battle of little bighorn, in 1876. it is really here in the defense of -- that sitting bull really starts
on that road. that victory that lakota had, near cheyenne, arapaho i little bighorn tremendous. and also brought the full rate of the u.s. army down on the lakota afterward. ulysses s grant ordered and was fully in support of those campaigns, many lakota surrendered. others followed sitting bull to canada. and the moment, though their action delayed and finally scuttle the northern pacific railroads plans, brought about the panic ed depression of 1873 which is an interesting moment here. jay cook had been so obsessed with this plan that he had actually loan money from his own investment bank to the pacific, in the middle of a very unstable uncannily, his investors came calling. he had no money to give them has been closed and launched the panic and depression.
lakota actions also presented tourist traffic and scientific expirations after 1873. until after 1877. the lakota though, we're not the only tribal nations that laid claim to yellowstone. i want to be sure to show you this map of major groups that were moving and in around this area and using yellowstone to move back and forth, not only to get at the great bison herds of southern wyoming and nebraska but also to get at one another to fight one of their and their traditional battles. these indigenous groups as i noted before have been using yellowstone, their paths were already there going by all the features, they knew all about them. they also hunted and fished within yellowstone itself. explores like hate and not only follow their past but find their craft sites. you know, we have this proof that these communities were
moving through and using yellowstone and some interesting ways and had been stewards of this land for thousands of years. i just wanted to note that during this 150th anniversary year, the officials at yellowstone national park are making a concerted effort to highlight these indigenous histories of yellowstone. to really bring in indigenous voices to the park itself. not only in a series of displays, but also in the history center. i'm really hopeful that people moving through the park, expecting really to see only natural wonders are going to see a little bit more of its history moving forward. what came of all of this, the passage of the yellowstone act? its legacy was not immediate. congress did not provide much funding for infrastructure. for the first decade, again, it was still difficult to get to until 1883 when the northern
pacific line was finally completed. up until that point, yellowstone really only had about 500,000 visitors a year. congress did not pass major legislation into the 1890s when they once again had control and all the branches of government. that republican president, benjamin harrison, they control the house and the senate. and that year they, created yosemite and cicada and general grant national parks. there was another gap, another lag until teddy roosevelt during his presidency really became the iconic conservation president using the 1906 antiquities act which gave him the power to create executive action. to make proclamations that any side of public interest could be a national monument. during his presidency, congress created another five national parks. all of them in the west, including mesa very day in
colorado. thewhat's also interesting thoh is that realistic preservation led to the creation of one of the largest intact zach temperate zone ecosystems in the world. and this area of which yellowstone is sort of the center, it's a very large area in montana and adrian large parts of wyoming, has given scientists a huge laboratory for [inaudible] a group it scientists just's science study. they published that report in july of 2021. as you might expect, the news is not good. and but the preservation of yellowstone has allowed scientists to actually study this and actually bring this really important information to us. and ultimately of course, yellowstone did set the precedent for the creation of national parks and their management under the federal government. unfortunately, also, it set a precedent for native land dispossession in this context. so just to wrap up here, my
book say, saving yellowstone, tells all these stories of the exploration and preservation of the psychotic landscape through the experiences of hidden as a people and and cooke some of the other because i mentioned here tonight. through them and looking at reconstruction from yellowstone and yellowstone in the context of reconstruction, i think we can see how reconstruction was a political and an economic and a social project to focus not only on the south but also on the west, that it was an effort on the part of the federal government to unite the country from coast to coast through a variety of projects, including the exploration and preservation of yellowstone. it also shows as that 1871 and 72 was a moment in which the government really reached for a higher purpose, before, unfortunately, abandoning it soon afterwards. politicians would not use federal supremacy to protect black civil rights again for almost a century. congress did not create any more substantial national parks
until 1890. and of course, preserved lands continued to be the targets of conservative efforts to withdraw their status and turn them toward production. seeing reconstruction from yellowstone also allows us to see how the effort to explore and preserve yellowstone rested, again, on a native land, dispossession, but that indigenous peoples fought this effort every step of the line. and that they survived and they persisted, and they continued to defend their lands against commercial and federal development. and finally, this angle of vision, i think, really reveals yellowstone itself as not only the world kind of first national park in this kind of amazing geothermal field unique in the world, but also a perfect metaphor for the country at this moment in 1871, and possibly even today, a place that is both beautiful and terrible, both fragile and powerful, and a place where what lies just beneath the surface is always threatening to explode.
so thank you so much. i will answer, and i think we have some time for questions. >> all right! thank you so much, megan! that was a great story that, was a really great story! and thank you to everyone in the audience today, and if you have any questions, feel free to go ahead and submit them now, but let's go ahead and jump into some of the questions that have come in. okay, and some of these are a little more general history but i think with your background you could possibly know the answers to somebody feel free to pass on any of them. but again, so one of the first questions that kim's is the clause in the 14th amendment limiting citizenship of native americans still in force? >> it is not, no. i believe it in 1924, i believe,
the federal government gave full citizenship rights to indigenous people of. course, you know, i mean that for a long period of time, right? it is fairly recent. but yes, that no longer applies. >> excellent, thank you. another question. why did lincoln imprison 10,000 navajo and some apaches in for sumner, new mexico, beginning it's seen 63? 3000 died either at sumner or on the forced move. inconsistent with how former slaves were treated. >> absolutely, yes. if you are interested in this topic, this is a major component of my previous book, the three cornered war, which many of the chapters take place on the long walk and add bosque redondo, which is the name of that reservation. yes, this is one of the biggest human rights disasters in the civil war, almost completely the fault of james henry cotton, who is the commander of the
u.s. army and the department of, the department of new mexico. in that region, the u.s. army had kind of pushed the confederates from new mexico in the summer of 1862 and then they turn the full force of their military power on a chiricahua pipe cheese, mescalero apaches and the navajo people. and it was called in a tent again, and you can see the relationship here, he really started to articulate this new kind of federal indian policy, where there would be no treaty agreements, and the first move would be active war care warfare, with the a tenth of removing native people to reservations so they would be out of the way of white settlers moving west, during the civil war era and then the years after that. and has bosque redondo a really fascinating history i mean of course, it is terrible, a 25% mortality rate both from the long walk and at, and really more people need to know about
it, because it really was a unique kind of prisoner of war camp, but also needs to be discussed in that context, with places like andersonville. and in this place, we can actually see that contradiction, which also light at the heart of saving yellowstone, which is that the federal government, on the one hand, is preserving and protecting the rights of black southerners, emancipating them, you know, trying to help them in a transition out of enslavement and into freedom, yet they are also embracing the possible extermination of and then also the removal and the incarceration of native people. and i think today we think that's really contradictory, but in the moment, both of those projects went toward the republican effort to bring the south and the west back into the nation, to exert control over both of those regions, and to create in the west it kind of, a land of free labor, a
land of freedom. in their, view that would require removing native people, and putting them on reservations so they did not interfere with white settlers rights. so those are two very connected programs and campaigns and in that way i think actually saving yellowstone is a, think you can see it as a sequel to three-cornered war. because there are many connections and many causal, sort of cause and effect relationships. >> all right, thank you, michael, for that. question or right, so another one. and i'm not sure how they mean this so, i'm going to kind of gets at it. what are the chances that management of yellowstone will be turned over to the native tribes to handle? i don't know if that current, or what are the chances that it could have happened, i mean, i imagine it's current? >> yeah. i think this is a current question. and it's related to the land
back movement, which is a movement on behalf of indigenous peoples to return all native park lens, if not all, many other kinds of lands, to indigenous stewardship and ownership. i think the chances are probably small that yellowstone will be turned over. one of the interesting things about yellowstone is that it actually, because it was a thoroughfare, if you remember the sleight of all of those groups that are involved and, you know yellowstone national park has established relationships with 26 tribal nations with connections to yellowstone. there's not just one group. and so it's not like one indigenous nation see ceded that in thailand or had it taken from them by the u.s. government. it was a shared space. so it actually wasn't covered by any kind of treaty baking. so the federal government just, you know, there was nothing standing in the way, right? and but there was a kind of shared ownership.
and i think what will happen instead, and i'm very hopeful about this, actually, because of the way that the park is handling the 150th and increasing its attention to engage in this presence and history, is that members of those tribal nations will get more of a say, that they will be, they'll get a seat at the table, they'll get to kind of talk about the park moving forward, talk about how to integrate indigenous histories into this landscape, and into the tourist experience of the park. and one of the things that we've been talking about -- i'm helping a group out of the university of michigan to develop a plan to kind of track this new effort at indigenous history integration -- and one of the things we thought would be so cool is what if you were driving through on one of the new approach which -- i know you all know -- and it were just, you know, if you signed up for an app and it would kind of putting your phone when you passed a site with important
indigenous history that you could get out and look at, or you could just experience, or it could say, right now, you are driving right along the route of the branick trail, which was a very heavily used migration trail for all kinds of tribal nations. and then you just become more aware of your surroundings, more aware of yellowstone's history and its indigenous presence, both in the past and also in the presence. >> great project. all right, another question. was yellowstone the first national park in the world, do you know? and into any other countries set a sideline for parts before yellowstone? >> coaches have been setting aside park lands in cities and you know, of course, the idea of the comments was very old. the idea that you would preserve something like central park was quite new. that was an idea that emerged in the 1840s.
but really the idea of a national park that the government would take from the people and keep out of development and then kind of organized and structure for tourism, that was a completely new idea. so yes, so i think we can safely say that yellowstone was the first national park in the world. and then there are still, you know, there are some countries that don't really have it now. but then others that do, and lots of places that have parks that are day-to-day dedicated to wildlife. you know, obviously warren i didn't talk about very much in this top words a charismatic megaphone of yellowstone, the bison and the elk and the wolf, in particular bears, and the reason for that is that hayden really didn't comment on them. and that animal life, when they were there, was not present in such large numbers that they were noting them and talking about the preservation. they became important later.
and the superintendents who followed were taking notes, particularly of bison populations because those were depleting rapidly in this period. and so there was some talk of either breeding bison and bringing them into the park and actually creating almost like izium type of atmosphere in yellowstone, and that of course has changed over time and now the park still manages that wildlife and manages the herd size, but they don't have it contained in that zoom like atmosphere. and but there are all kinds of different types of parks and reserves and you know, in other countries that have different government structures so it's kind of hard to have a, and exactly parallel type of experience. >> all right thank, you. so another question. when they were developing the
boundaries, someone asked, what was the purpose of encouraging that never strips of land in montana and idaho within the park boundaries? do you know? >> i think that was just a matter -- it was probably to gain the entrances and the rights of way, because it was a very important, particularly in the northern entrance, and they needed that area just north of the park which montana was claiming, in fact the montana pastors when boosters when they were arguing for the park's creation were actually trying to get them to give all of yellowstone over to montana first, and then take the land. so they wanted to actually expand into wyoming to take up that land, because at that point that northern entrance was really the only way in. no one had really discovered the other possible entrances. it seemed, when they saw the ùtetpons they were like what do we tetons there were watches,
how are we going to get over those? the montanans in particular saw the parkas there's. so they just taken little pieces and i think they probably have to deal with mountain ranges and also waterways that were important areas of access for the park itself. >> right, that makes sense. so i think we are going to ask one more question. maybe we have time for two. but did general sheridan have a role in protecting yellowstone? >> that's a great question. sheridan, who was one of the commanders in this region of the u.s. army, actually did send a -- another exploring team that was explicitly military and they kind of hooked on to he didn't serve a. it was led by a guy named don barlow. hayden was a little annoyed. he did not want to have to share any credit if anyone discovered any part of yellowstone.
and so he wasn't very happy about that. he was very much invested in keeping sheridan happy. he needed that support from the u.s. military, in terms of supplies, and also military support and protection. sheridan was also someone he did want to know, initial title of the book was the strange come jury. that was a quote from sheridan himself who said, i think we need to know more about the strange country of the yellowstone. it seemed like such a great evocative phase, it perfectly describes in the basin. teared and was a military official a friend of grants. he was committed to implementing all of the federal government's measures in this region. no matter what they would be. >> sorry about that.
i'm going to ask two more questions. and then i think we'll finish up. this one, i think, so, let me ask it. why does teddy get credit for establishing yellowstone when it was really president grant? >> yeah, this is one of the fascinating things. roosevelt visited the park. when they were laying the cornerstone of the arch that it is in garden. are they named the arch after him. they named also parts of the park after him this leaves people to think that roosevelt was the one to create yellowstone national park. the arch itself is not very clear. if you are not sure when roosevelt was president if, you're thinking maybe it was possible is 1872, there are very good reasons for thinking he was the one who established
it. roosevelt kind of sucks up all of the -- >> conservation, national finding? >> all the attention. poor grant. grant was also not very good at bragging about this at all. he never really made any speeches about it. he was totally fine with. that he didn't try to take credit for anything either. that was part of it too. >> all right, thank you. last question. then we will. close if you are to recommend a season to visit yellowstone, what's season would it be? >> i think would be september. when we went in september, first of, all the trees were changing color. it was gorgeous. there are fewer people there, which was nice. also, it was kind of glorious to be there when it snowed on us. we got to see herds of bison walking through the dark driving snow, we got to walk up around the mud volcanoes as the snow was coming down. it was a little cold. it was a little adventurous.
i actually really liked it. i thought it was a really beautiful time of year to be there. >> someone commented this evening that smithsonian journey has a trip to yellowstone in september. this year, they are going. >> perfect, post lots of pictures! report! all right, that's about all the time we have for today. thank you, megan, for your wonderful presentations. thank you to all of our viewers for joining us today, and for the great questions that came through. if you enjoy today's program, please consider becoming a member or making a donation to support educational programs like this and definitely check out our other upcoming program. again, we encourage you to fill out the survey when you exit this evening. we do want to hear from you. thank you so much everyone. enjoy the remainder of your evening. >> thanks, everyone, thanks for coming.
in history posts. hello, everybody. welcome to the washington times in this episode of history as it happens a podcast for people who want to think about current events historically. i'm martin decaro and with us today, michael kazen historian of georgetown univ erhello everybody, i'm martin di caro, with us today michael kazin, hiia