The greatest European contribution to Native American society was arguably the horse. Its effects, especially on western tribes, were truly revolutionary. It altered their material lives, rearranged their relations with their environments, and fed a burst of power and affluence. Ironically, over time horses contributed also to American Indians’ mounting difficulties as the tide of white settlement rolled over them.
The Lewis and Clark expedition is rightly considered one of the great American stories. In May of 1804 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off by keelboat up the Missouri River with thirty-one men, the “Corps of Discovery,” on an expedition authorized by Congress at the request of Thomas Jefferson. The expedition’s grip on the popular imagination is understandable. It features adventures and trials, close calls and improbable coincidences, exotic encounters and fascinating personalities.
The Forest Reserve Act authorized the president to set aside “forest reserves” from public domain lands to be managed by the Department of the Interior. “Forest reserves” later became National Forests.
The Kyoto Protocol treaty was adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The protocol was an agreement between member countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in coming years. The United States was the only industrialized country in the world that refused to ratify the protocol, though it remained a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 established the National Park Service as part of the Department of the Interior. The new agency was charged with promoting and regulating the use of national parks, monuments, and reservations and preserving them “for the enjoyment of future generations.”