Date of Award:

5-1999

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

History

Committee

F. Ross Peterson

Abstract

Richard Nixon, the president, has been given little historical credit for the environmental accomplishments of his administration. Indeed, in his post-presidency memoirs Nixon himself shows no interest in the environment and when he does speak to the issue, it is disparagingly.

But ironically, my thesis shows that no administration, before or since, has brought such progress to the multiple issues of environmental quality. The thesis explores the political, social, and historical factors that contributed to the "environmental revolution" of the late 60s and early 70s. The quality of the leaders chosen within the administration helps explain the dichotomy between a negative president and the environmental reform accomplished by his government agencies. It was my privilege to serve with or under these men: Walter Hickel, Russell Train, William Ruckelshaus, John Whitaker, and John Ehrlichman. Dedicated civil servants and other bright, young political appointees joined with me on the environmental agenda.

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