Advisor

Giesen, C. James

Committee Member

Marcus. I. Alan

Committee Member

Brain, C. Stephen

Date of Degree

5-1-2010

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Major

History

Degree Name

Master of Arts

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of History

Abstract

Until the early twentieth century, Americans generally responded to the risk of floods by building protective levees. By the late 1800s, this approach was firmly entrenched in federal policy. Because of the singular focus on levees, floods actually became more severe, with a prime example occurring in 1927. The floods of 1927 demonstrated that levees-only was an untenable policy, but a new approach to managing flood risk took several decades to fully materialize. The geographer Gilbert Fowler White played a central role in developing the nation’s new approach to floods. In his 1945 doctoral dissertation, White laid out a multiaceted approach to flood risks that promoted the accommodation of nature at times, rather than relying exclusively on ever-greater works of engineering to address the risk of flood. The passage of the National Flood Insurance Act in 1968 demonstrates the acceptance of White’s ideas into federal policy.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/15074

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