Creating a Modern Countryside
Liberalism and Land Resettlement in British Columbia
- Published: 2008
- Subject Listing: Environmental History, Western History, Canadian Studies
- Bibliographic information: 268 pp., 18 illus., 5 maps, 6 x 9 in.
- Territorial rights: U.S. rights only
- Distributed for: UBC Press
In the early 1900s, British Columbia embarked on a brief but intense effort to manufacture a modern countryside. The government wished to reward veterans of the Great War with new lives: soldiers and other settlers would benefit from living in a rural community, considered a more healthy and moral alternative to urban life. But the fundamental reason for the land resettlement project was the rise of progressive or "new liberal" thinking, as reformers advocated an expanded role for the state in guaranteeing the prosperity and economic security of its citizens.
This ideological shift pushed the government to intervene directly in the management of not only society but also the natural environment. As most arable, accessible land in British Columbia was already being farmed by 1919, the state had to undertake environmental engineering projects on a scale not yet attempted in the province. Creating a Modern Countryside examines how this process unfolded, identifies its successes and failures, and demonstrates how the human-environment relationship of the early twentieth century shaped the province we live in today.
James Murton is an assistant professor of history at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.
"Exceptionally well-written. This book makes a very significant contribution to environmental history, BC history, and intellectual history." - Barry Ferguson, author of Remaking Liberalism
List of Illustrations
Foreword: Soldiers' Fields / Graeme Wynn
A Note on Terminology and Units of Measure
Part 1: A Modern Countryside
1. Liberalism and the Land
2. Soldiers, Science, and an Alternative Modernity
Part 2: Where Apples Grow Best
3. Stump Farms: Soldier Settlement at Merville
4. Creating Order at Sumas
5. Achieving the Modern Countryside
Part 3: Back to Work
6. Pattullo’s New Deal