Establishment of Environmentalism on the U.S. Political Agenda in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century - The Brothers Udall

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This book explains how environmentalism was firmly established on the political agenda of the United States in the second half of the twentieth century aided and abetted by the efforts of two brothers who were public servants. Making use of the papers Stewart L. Udall and “Mo” Udall in the Morris K. Udall Archives at the University of Arizona also enabled the author to utilize the concept of the political family elucidated by Donn M. Kurtz II in Kinship & Politics (1987), in this case with the focus on two brothers, one of whom served thirty years in the U.S. House of Representatives as the direct successor of his slightly older brother who served for eight years as the Secretary of the Interior. A major feature of the volume is its employment of environmental policy papers maintained at the Edmund S. Muskie Archives at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.


“The present work of Henry B. Sirgo undertakes an analysis of the contributions of the Udalls and their political allies in their efforts to create the reality that the achievement of environmental goals is wholly compatible with the achievement of economic and political goals. To the author’s advantage and credit, he has been able to conduct interviews with the surviving Udall brother and with various associates and contemporary observers [in addition to] interviews which others have conducted, as well as utilized the various archival materials available. In short, Sirgo has made valuable use of both the archival and living primary sources….In his own unique and insightful style of writing, Professor Sirgo has detailed the careers and efforts of Morris and Stewart Udall, as well as their professional relationships with colleagues such as Hale Boggs, Jim Wright and Ed Muskie. Readers should welcome this important contribution to the study of environmental policy and politics in the United States.” – (From the Foreword) Dr. H. Micheal Tarver, Arkansas Tech University

“[This book] is the story of Stewart L. Udall and Morris K. Udall, a political family whose life was dedicated to environmental protection. Dr. Sirgo is an impeccable researcher, fine-tuned to details, and an experienced interviewer who has unearthed a mother lode of insight about the role of Morris and Stewart Udall in environmental agenda setting and their relationship to other principal decision makers during that period, most notably Senator Edmund Muskie (D-ME) and Congressman Jim Wright (D-TX). Institutions matter, but [this book] shows that people matter more – that policy entrepreneurs advanced the environmental agenda during the 1960s, at a time when there was no groundswell of public enthusiasm for this cause. Only of late have political scientists begun to appreciate that principled politics is not motivated by economic self-interest but rather by altruistic devotion to public good. [This work] is testimony to that politics of conviction – of lives given to public service. Henry Sirgo is to be applauded for retracing the political steps of Morris and Stewart. Students of the policy process, devotees of political biography, indeed anyone who cares about this delicate planet will enjoy this personal history of [this work].” – Professor Raymond Tatalovich, Loyola University Chicago

“Dr. Sirgo has written this fine book in order to describe how the issues associated with environmentalism reached the U.S. political agenda in the 1960s, and how environmental issues have remained in the forefront of that agenda for four decades…..Dr. Sirgo’s book provides ample evidence to support his conclusions that the Udall Brothers and their policy associates were able to institutionalize environmental issues and influence policy-making agenda. He provides the perfect example of the mobilization method of agenda-setting. This book should interest the student and teacher of environmental politics and teachers of the policy process. This book may also be of interest to students and teachers of Inter-Governmental Relations as an example of, not only the policy process, but also of the cooperation among officials at the various levels of government.” – Dr. Brian C. Reed, Arkansas Tech University

Table of Contents

1. The Brothers Udall: Issue Enthusiasts
2. The Brothers Udall: Party Enthusiasts
3. Secretary Stewart Udall: Water Policy Decision-Making and Implementation
4. Ed Muskie: A Friend in the Senate
5. Jim Wright: Practitioner of Environmental and Party Politics
6. Environmental Agenda Setting
Oral History Interviews
• Stewart L. Udall
• James C. Wright
• Donald E. Nicoll
• Leon G. Billings

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