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In early American society the people were mostly agrarian and expected a certain amount of Voltairean tolerance in there religion however time would reveal a less than tolerant view of the environment Beginning 1492 when Columbus in the name of Spain made his way to the East Indies an immediate impact was made on the environment as Columbus turned on the native people who had been very accommodating Thereafter North American would forever be changed as a result of Columbus discovery The first impact was of course was the virtual annihilation of the native people in south and central America then followed by the removal of the gold and silver in those regions Soon to follow the Spanish was England and France who both contributed mightily to the degradation of both the native species and the timber in North America American or rather Old World ideas of the time put man as the controlling factor in nature and that idea helped to deplete nature to the point where it could no longer produce In the south the plantation system virtually emptied the soil of its nutrients Dr Kline explains it best as by the 18th century Virginia began suffering low yields as the best lands were eroding from overuse18 It seems that the colonists had forgotten the true meaning of husbandry This of course would not be the end of the beginning of the ills for people in America The main theme in America is mostly associated with a perceived abundance of land which seemed to be ceaseless in its vastness Late into the 19th century man had taken without regards to nature most of the usable timber on the eastern seaboard and trappers in the American interior had to move increasingly west to pursue game This depletion combined with the constant influx of immigrants led Americans to turn to alternative resources to survive New advents in technology led man to use coal for factories
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