Believe it or not, President Abraham Lincoln actually did a lot for the environment. It’s not exactly what he’s remembered for, however, since his legacy rests in freeing the slaves and presiding over the Union in the Civil War. But, Lincoln did do a lot for the natural world, too. In 1862 Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since at that time more than 90% of Americans were farmers, was a very powerful department, one which still has a major impact on our environment today.
He also helped establish the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. On top of that, he signedone of the first conservation laws, which helped lay the foundations of the national park service. Lastly, Lincoln signed a bill which established protection for the Yosemite Valley in California.
President Theodore Roosevelt was actually one of the most influential presidents regarding the environment. Though mostly known for his Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War and ‘lion-heart’ approach to politics, Roosevelt did spend many of his early years as a cowboy of sorts on the frontier, and a naturalist after his presidency. Roosevelt headed a group that founded many national parks and reserves in America, including Yellowstone National Park. He had a great reverence for the natural beauty of America’s landscapes, and wished to keep it intact from growing industry and other outlets.
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