“Pestered with inhabitants”: Aldo Leopold, William Vogt, and more trouble with wilderness
Powell, Miles Alexander
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper contends that Aldo Leopold’s pursuit of unpeopled wilderness had a disturbing corollary—a disdain for human population growth that culminated in a critique of providing food and medical aid to developing nations. Although Leopold never fully shared these ideas with the public, he explored them in multiple unpublished manuscripts, and he submitted a first draft of one of these essays to a press. Leopold also exchanged these views with the most popular environmental Malthusian of his day, William Vogt, whose exposition of nearly identical arguments won him national fame. By revealing connections between wilderness thought and callous proposed social policy, this paper identifies a new dimension of what environmental historian William Cronon called the “Trouble with Wilderness.” This manuscript further calls into question whether the concept of wilderness is inherently exclusionary and misanthropic.
Pacific historical review
© 2015 University of California Press. This paper was published in Pacific Historical Review and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of University of California Press. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/phr.2015.84.2.195]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.