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First Along the River provides students with a balanced, historical perspective on the history of the environmental movement in relation to major social and political events in U.S. history, from the pre-colonial era to the present. The book highlights important people and events, places critical concepts in context, and shows the impact of government, industry, and population on the American landscape. Comprehensive yet brief, First Along the River discusses the religious and philosophical beliefs that shaped Americans' relationship to the environment, traces the origins and development of government regulations that impact Americans' use of natural resources, and shows why popular environmental groups were founded and how they changed over time. The fourth edition includes up-to-date coverage of the environmental movement and developments since 2000, including the second term of George W. Bush and the administration of Barack Obama.