In the traditional view of the Survey's first 25 years, which are the subject of much of this volume, John Wesley Powell, with his broad view of science and advanced ideas of land and water in the West, is the heroic figure. Clarence King is dismissed as brilliant but with a limited view of science as mining geology, and Charles D. Walcott is regarded primarily as a brilliant paleontologist chosen by Powell to succeed him. The Survey's first quarter century, however, spanned a watershed in American history that separated a primarily rural and agrarian nation and a primarily urban and industrial nation, a nation intent on conquering the continent and isolated from the Old World and a nation involved in world politics, a nation that believed in the virtues of competition and limited government and a nation that saw the virtue of cooperation and insisted on reform and regulation to ensure equal opportunities to all. Science itself changed during this period. The age of instruments was just beginning when the Survey was established; by the turn of the century, instruments had almost revolutionized science and the era of the lone investigator had to give way to an era of organized effort in the solution of problems.