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The study is an interpretation of the tradition of walking in the American experience. American walkers are viewed from five different historical and cultural perspectives: wilderness walkers, New England saunterers, long-distance walkers, urban walkers, and trail hikers. The initial settlers and early colonists often found walking the most practical, economical, and expedient means of travel. Most of the travel westward whether for exploration or for migration entailed a great deal of walking. / As road systems and modern modes of transportation improved, walking was no longer necessary, but a new breed of walkers emerged who consciously and voluntarily preferred walking to other forms of locomotion. New England saunterers--such as Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne--took daily walks in the spirit of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land. During their walks they explored the external landscape as well as their own thoughts and feelings. In contrast to the saunterers were long-distance walkers. The tradition of long-distance walking extends from the early 1800s to the present. The literature of distance walkers gives panoramic interpretations of American culture. At the turn of the century, walking was a popular pastime and sport for middle-class urbanites. It was perceived as an ideal form of exercise and an excellent way to retain health. At the turn of the century there was also a desire by middle-class Americans to participate in nature-oriented activities. Nature trails were blazed and urbanites readily took to hiking. Hiking and backpacking remain as popular forms of walking. / In conclusion, walking is an ongoing tradition among Americans. Though there are contemporary saunterers and long-distance walkers, walking has assumed a number of different forms in the latter half of this century. Today there are walks for various causes such as protest and peace marches. Finally, the special relationship that American walkers have had with nature remains central to the ongoing tradition of walking in this country. / Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 44-12, Section: A, page: 3729. / Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Florida State University, 1983.
ContributorsDUNHAM, GEORGE., Florida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format199 p.
RightsOn campus use only.
RelationDissertation Abstracts International

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