In the European settlement of the New World, encounter with nature was a drama of success or failure, life or death. As American civilization became established in the nineteenth century and the United States assumed its own cultural voice, the relation between nature and the human being became a theme in American philosophy in ways it had not been in Europe. This book collects essays by leading scholars, both American and European, on the American understanding of nature from Emerson to Dewey and beyond. The volume features essays on Emerson and Thoreau, Royce, Peirce, Wright, James, Holmes, Tocqueville, and Dewey. Topics include the role of nature in American idealism, the influence of Darwin, naturalism in psychology, and human nature in political thought. The final essay presents a comprehensive taxonomy of views of nature in relation to expressions of nature in American art. Clearly evident in the book is the variety of ways European influences on American philosophy were modified as they were received by American thinkers. The most important theme that emerges from the collection as a whole is the importance of community as the mediator between nature and the individual. As in their conquest of the frontier, so also in their philosophy, Americans chose not to face nature alone. Nature is interpreted in the light of shared human purposes. The culture of community, whether the frontier town or Peirce's community of scientific investigators, makes nature intelligible and manageable. With its focus on philosophy of nature, this book fills a gap in the ongoing reassessment of nineteenth-century American philosophy, and it opens the way to further study of the role played by reflection on nature in the emergence of the American mind.