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The industrial revolution took place in the 18th and 19th centuries; more specifically, it began around 1760 and ended between the years 1820 and 1840. The industrial revolution introduced the use of machines, which soon transformed the lives of people as well as methods of manufacturing. Prior to the revolution, manufacturing items was usually done in a person’s home, through the use of hand tools or basic machines. In addition to improved methods of manufacturing, people saw improved methods of transportation, communication and banking. One of the effects of the industrial revolution was the rise in naturalism.
It all started out with the idea that national parks should be shared with everyone, due to the magnificent natural wonders of the land. The discovery of Yosemite in the year 1851 is what set the motions in place that eventually lead to legislation protecting and preserving the land for future generations. After Yosemite was discovered, a guy named James Mason Hutchings saw the land, and after his first visit, he came back with a photographer. The photographer then photographed the land, and the word and images of Yosemite spread pretty quickly. People got ahold of the images and the name, and many people thought it would be of best interest to protect the land. The land was in danger, however, for a while, not much was done about it.
By the 1860s, the park Niagara Falls was nearly ruined due to private landowners owning all of the overlooks and they all charged a fee. It was thought that if there was nothing done to Yosemite, that it would end up the same way. In May of the year 1864, a man named John Conness introduced a bill to congress that simply proposed to ‘setting aside a large tract of natural scenery for the future enjoyment of everyone’. Over 60 square miles of land of the Yosemite Park was now to be transferred over to the state of California, on the one condition that the land be used for “public use, resort, and recreation”. On June of the same year, President Abraham Lincoln signed a law preserving the land forever.
In the year 1867, a man named John Muir comes along. He was a natural born scientist, studying geology and botany, and had graduated from the University of Wisconsin. After seeing Yosemite for the first time, he had wrote that Yosemite was ‘by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter…”. He devoted all his free time to exploring new parts of the land; he had felt a deep, spiritual connection to the land and animals, and so he decided to devote himself to understanding the wilderness and teaching others what he had learned.
The law that was made for Yosemite set off discoveries of other national parks, all of which needed to be preserved and protected. Sequoia National Park and General Grant National Park are examples of lands that were protected by law, similar to Yosemite. While it was a good start, Muir knew that there was a need for more parks, and knew that he would need to convince many Americans that National Parks were a necessity.
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