Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1995


Published in Great Plains Research 5:1 (February 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The public policy issue this book explores is a continuing one, especially after the Republican take-over of Congress in 1994. In a sense, then, this study of the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and 1980s is incomplete. It seems clear that the issue, governmental control and use of the public lands of twelve western states, will change-perhaps radically.

Yet, the book is an important study of a highly volatile public issue in the West, and gives us an understanding of its dimensions no matter what turn policy or public indignation will take. A crucial part of that understanding is the author's point of view, seeing the issue of who shall control huge tracts of public lands, state or federal governments, from the side of the state rebels. As a more conservative, state's rights philosophy finds power in Congress, with an obvious reflection in executive actions, it seems crucial that this side should be well understood, without detracting from the compelling arguments of environmentalists and others who oppose handing the federal land over to states.