Chapter

Saving Lost Lives

Donald J. Pisani

in Water and American Government

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927582 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230309.003.0001
Saving Lost Lives

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This chapter introduces the 1902 Reclamation Act, which directed the national government to create irrigation projects in sixteen western territories and states. This Act was the first bold step of the federal government in terms of regional economic development or public works. It shows that reclamation was not just an issue in the West, and then looks at how reclamation became a national issue. This is followed by an introduction to the Reclamation Service and a study on the ideology of reclamation. The ideology of reclamation involves the efforts of George H. Maxwell, William Ellsworth Smythe, and Frederick H. Newell, who sold irrigation mainly as a scheme to build brand new homes and communities. While Maxwell was known for his Homecroft Movement, Smythe established the Little Landers community. Newell was part of the “new engineers”, who were also scientists, boosters, self-taught entrepreneurs, master-builders, and technocrats.

Keywords: 1902 Reclamation Act; irrigation projects; federal government; reclamation; Reclamation Service; George H. Maxwell; William Ellsworth Smythe; Frederick H. Newell; Homecroft Movement; Little Landers community

Chapter.  14980 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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