A Lost Virtue; How Environmental Conservation Stepped Off the Trail

I pride myself in saying that I am part of a generation more enamored with politics than many before us. When President Obama was elected I remember watching on the news, and seeing that it was the largest turn out of teenagers and young adults to hit the polls in decades. And I am no different; I have always been a staunch lover of politics.

I have been lucky enough to be a citizen of a state the bleeds politics like it is a national sport. Maybe it is my own sense of state hubris but I would state that New Hampshire is one of the largest political hot spots in this country. It is where the Presidential primary is held each year, and each year I sit by the television and watch with eagerness to see what the next batch of hopefuls claims to bring to the Oval Office. But as I have grown up I have realized that there is an ever-growing rift on environmental policy, specifically on the Republican side.

Last semester I had the privilege of taking a sophomore level United States history course as a freshman. I have always had a burning passion for American history and when the class began discussing the American icon, Theodore Roosevelt, I was instantly hooked. Who couldn’t get big eyes and mouth dropping responses when they hear a President of the United States, would take trips into the wild and hunt bears (please note I do not support the killing of bears). Or would ship off to Cuban and take a cavalry force directly into a wave of enemy gunfire. That is the kind of American hoodspa that I have been searching for in the current candidates.

I am a Republican, even though I find it painful to admit after the destructive policies and decisions perpetuated in the last presidency. I like to think that my stances are directly due to Theodore. But what truly made me want to learn more about Teddy is the fact that he was one of the most environmentally conscious presidents in American history and yet the current Republican Party is characterized as only caring about drilling for oil.

I anticipate that my main challenge lies in the fact that digging up environmental policy on George W. Bush wont be the easiest task. From the preliminary digging I have done I can say that finding environmental policy of President Bush was minimal. But I have always liked a good scavenger hunt and this will be no different.

I think it is going to be a blast comparing the modern day Republican view of environmental conservation to that of what the party was originally vehemently perpetuating. My hope is that through this paper I may be able to locate where the Republican principal of environmental conservation lost it’s way. My hope is that, at the very least, I will have the benefit of being able to still say that Theodore’s dream of environmental conservation and stewardship is still able to be recovered within my party.


About ryanrmccann27

Current student at Trinity College, Hartford CT. Graduation year 2014. Majoring in History, with a minor in legal studies. My research topic is comparing the lack of environmental concern during the presidency of George W. Bush to that of Teddy Roosevelt and seeing where the disconnect happened. I am an member of the Trinity College swim team, a member of the honor council, class president, and a Residential Assistant for freshman. I am planning on pursuing a career path in either law or business.
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