This Land is My Land: Rebellion in the West

ISBN : 9780197500699

James R. Skillen
288 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2020
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Among American conservatives, the right to own property free from the meddling hand of the state is one of the most sacred rights of all. But the in the American West, the federal government owns and oversees vast patches of land, complicating the narrative of western individualism and private property rights. Hence anti-federal government sentiment, often in the name of private property rights, has animated conservative politics in the West for decades upon decades. In This Land Is My Land, James R. Skillen tells the story of conservative rebellion against federal land management in the America West over the last forty years, which has ranged from legal action to armed confrontations. He traces the most recent waves of conservative rebellion against federal land authority-the Sagebrush Rebellion (1979-1982), the War for the West (1991-2000), and the Patriot Rebellion (2009-2016)-and shows how they evolved from a regional rebellion waged by westerners with material interests in federal lands to a national rebellion against the federal administrative state. Cumulatively, Skillen's account explains how the civil religion and constitutional nationalism in which ranchers, miners, and other traditional federal land users became powerful symbols of conservative American and how federal land issues became inseparably linked to property rights, gun rights, and religious express. Not just a book about property rights battles over western lands, This Land is My Land reveals how evolving rebellions in the west provide insight for understanding the conservative coalition that elected President Donald J. Trump in 2016.


Part I: Three Ranches in Nevada
Chapter 1: Bundy Ranch
Chapter 2: Hage and Dann Ranches
Part II: The Sagebrush Rebellion
Chapter 3: This Precious Heritage of Desert
Chapter 4: Sagebrush Rebels and the New Face of Conservative Politics
Part III: The War for the West
Chapter 5: Spitting Mad
Chapter 6: Weirdness in the West
Part IV: The Patriot Rebellion
Chapter 7: Glenn Beck's Common Sense
Chapter 8: Popular Constitutionalism Applied
Chapter 9: The Revolution Was . . . Weird
Conclusion: Whither the Next Rebellion?
Works Cited

About the author: 

James R. Skillen is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Calvin University. He teaches at the intersection of environmental history, law, and science, including regular field courses on federal lands in California, Nevada, and Oregon. He is author of The Nation's Largest Landlord: The Bureau of Land Management in the American West and Federal Ecosystem Management: Its Rise, Fall, and Afterlife.

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