Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America

Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America

Lee Alan Dugatkin


In the years after the progressive conflict, the fledgling republic of the United States used to be seen by means of many Europeans as a degenerate backwater, populated by means of subspecies susceptible and feeble. leader between those naysayers used to be the French count number and world-renowned naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who wrote that the natural world of the USA (humans integrated) have been not so good as eu specimens.

Thomas Jefferson—author of the statement of Independence, U.S. president, and ardent naturalist—spent years countering the French notion of yank degeneracy. His Notes on Virginia systematically and scientifically dismantled Buffon’s case via a sequence of tables and both compelling writing at the nature of his domestic country. however the e-book did little to counter the confidence of the French and rarely happy Jefferson’s quest to illustrate that his younger kingdom used to be each piece the equivalent of a well-established Europe. input the enormous moose.

The American moose, which Jefferson claimed used to be so huge, immense a ecu reindeer may stroll lower than it, grew to become the cornerstone of his security. confident that the sight of this kind of exceptional beast could reason Buffon to revise his claims, Jefferson had the is still of a seven-foot ungulate shipped firstclass from New Hampshire to Paris. regrettably, Buffon died earlier than he can make any revisions to his Histoire Naturelle, but the legend of the moose makes for a desirable story approximately Jefferson’s ardour to turn out that American nature deserved prestige.

In Mr. Jefferson and the enormous Moose, Lee Alan Dugatkin vividly recreates the foundation and evolution of the debates approximately normal heritage in the USA and, in so doing, returns the prize moose to its rightful position in American history.

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