"Toward the end of his life, Isaac Stephenson, one of the most successful of the Marinette-Menominee lumbermen, would write in his autobiography,
The habitual weakness of the American people is to assume that they have made themselves great, whereas their greatness has been in large measure thrust upon them by a bountiful providence which has given them forests, mines, fertile soil, and a variety of climate to enable them to sustain themselves in plenty...
From the wealth of nature, Americans had wrung a human plenty, and from that plenty they hadbuilt the city of Chicago. Chicago's relationship to the white pines had been exceedingly intricate, emerging from ecological and economic forces that for a brief time had come together into a single market, a single geography.The tensions in that market and that geography finally destroyed the distant ecosystem which had helped create them - but by then it no longer mattered. Perhaps the greatest irony was that by surviving the forests that had nurtured it growth, Chicago could all too easily come to seem a wholly human creation."
-William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis