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American Odyssey
American Odyssey: The 20th Century and Beyond Glencoe Online
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Web Activity Lesson Plan
Chapter 9: Progressivism Takes Hold
"Controversial Conservation"


Students have read about how President Theodore Roosevelt used his presidency to put conservation at the top of his administration's agenda. In this exercise, students will analyze how President Bill Clinton used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate 3 national monuments nearly 100 years later.

Lesson Description

Students will use information from the CNN Web site to learn about how President Clinton used the Antiquities Act, legislation first initiated by Theodore Roosevelt, to establish three new national monuments. Students will read a CNN news report about the new national monuments, local reaction to the monuments, and responses to the designations. Students will then answer four questions and apply this information by writing a comparison of the factors involved in creating the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908 and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in 2000.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to trace the development of the conservation of natural resources by analyzing how legislation that was initiated by President Theodore Roosevelt is still being used to protect natural environments.
  2. Students will be able to use this knowledge to write a comparison of the efforts of President Roosevelt and President Clinton to designate national monuments at the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Student Activity Answers

  1. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorized the federal government to designate landmarks, structures, or other objects of historical significance as federally owned national monuments.
  2. Some legislators thought that Clinton had overstepped the intent of the Antiquities Act and that he had ignored states' opinions. Some accused Clinton of trying to bypass Congress.
  3. Residents objected because they felt that they hadn't been given the chance to voice their opinions about the monuments. They feared federal restrictions associated with national monument status, and they resented the impact that tourism would have on their quiet lifestyles.
  4. Clinton's aides responded by saying that almost all presidents since Roosevelt have used the act to protect federal land and to preserve some of the country's most important national and natural treasures.
  5. Students' comparisons will vary.

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