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The Sagebrush Rebellion: America's Longest War: Utah Connection

Array ( [0] => HIST 3770 Spring 2018 [1] => no-show [2] => student exhibit )

Utah Connection

QCNR Building.jpg
Quinney College of Natural Resources building 
Public Domain 

The question of State's or Federal Rights goes further than the House and the Senate. Professors, students, and other constituents of Utah all express their views on the matter whether for or against. However, when politics and Education become too close for comfort, Utah State University is persuaded to fire a well-known professor from the Department of Forestry and Outdoor Recreation. 

Quinney College of Natural Resources (USU Main Logan Campus)

The Quiney College of Natural Resources is one of Utah State University's (USU) most liberal colleges and therefore in support of keeping public lands in the hands of the federal government. USU Professor Bernard Shanks is a professor from the Department of Forestry and Outdoor Recreation who proves to be more vocal than others. Dr. Shanks represents what a majority of outdoor enthusiasts agree with and claims that the Sagebrush Rebellion or, “Second American Revolution,” is a war built on the battlefield of greed. [1]The Public Land Policy professor gave a speech titled “The Sagebrush Rebellion as the New McCarthyism,” and calls Sagebrush rebels paranoid McCarthyites. At the Intermountain Outdoor Symposium of 1980, Shanks delivered another speech titled, “Politics and the Public Lands.” He dispels copious myths pertaining to the rebellion and talks directly about Orrin Hatch’s remarks against conservationists, land managers and others in support of public lands. Professor Bernard Shanks is asked to resign from the university soon after his remarks against the Republican congressman.

Reed Smoot.jpg
Congressman Reed Smoot(R-UT)
Public Domain 

Congressman from the West

Although many congressmen from the western states believed that they should have control over public lands, one of Utah's own disagreed. Congressman Reed Smoot was one of the first members of Utah congress to promote preservation and keep land in the hands of the national government. Smoot served Utah’s Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys for nearly 30 years and is known for his conservation policy to protect natural resources. He leads movements throughout the early 20th century encourage the preservation of public lands, promote conservation policy and maintain national parks. This is crucial to Utah’s incredible scenery and refuge cites including 74 thousand acres within Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City. [1]In the 1970’s Congressman Lee Metcalf(D-MT), Frank Church(D-ID), and Morris Udall(D-AZ) proved to be leaders in conservation and became the “three of the most widely respected conservationists.”

Liberal policies in support of public lands staying with the federal government gave Orrin Hatch a stepping stone to get opposed constituents rallied behind his platform. By doing so, Senator Hatch gained support from miners, farmers and other landowners throughout Utah, emerging as “the high priest of the Sagebrush Rebellion.”[2] Orrin Hatch used ad hominem rhetoric to make “toadstool worshipers” and their position seem illegitimate. He claims that BLM employees are “officious, oppressive agents of Washington’s sprawling, marching army of clerks and self-appointed experts,” when 26 percent of these BLM line managers are from Utah State University.