View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Mass, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow,
Today we refer you to an article by Jennifer Kabat in the New York Review of Books about the Metropolitan Museum's Cole show in 2018. It is an interesting read referencing Cole's place in time, in New York and the art world as those with time and money could appreciate the New World as and idealized wilderness.
The political, social and environmental aspect of landscape art change along with the times while the art stays the same. This interpretation is always set within the confines of the nature of the critic, the critic's training and the critic's place in society; as is most often the case, that of historically privileged.
Whether you choose to align yourself with the environmental side which is currently the vogue as wilderness by those wishing for the pristine, or an other point of view will be one of the ongoing pursuits here to try to define.
Kabat's article Thomas Cole: A Conservative Conservationist