Home >> Geography And World Power >> Carthage to The Warm Land India >> Coal the GreaterLand_P1

Coal the Greater Land Distributions the United States

french, conditions, lawrence, st, barrier, north and geographical

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

COAL : THE GREATER LAND DISTRIBUTIONS : THE UNITED STATES New World was not so favourably situated as the Old for the development on the spot of an early civilization, and so there is no land like Egypt. But though the geographical conditions remain unchanged, they may control the course of history differently according as men are able or are not able to use energy in certain ways. The ocean was for long a barrier, now it is an open highway. So on the American lands unsuited for early development we see a growth of one of the great Powers, because here energy could be con trolled and saved more economically when men once knew how. The first stages in the history gave little promise of future importance. Not alone did the Spaniards cross the ocean. For reasons depending on the geography of the Old World rather than that of the New, French, Dutch, and English followed closely, but kept in the main to the north, at first still searching for the sea way to the Indies. The French, following the St. Lawrence and Mississippi, penetrated far inland and claimed vast territories in the great lowland reached by these rivers. The English settled on the eastern coastlands both before and after the Dutch were dispossessed, cut from their base by happenings in Europe. The forested highlands of the Appalachians and New England, and the plains beyond claimed by the French, formed a double barrier, physical and political, which hemmed in these settlements, and no one would have supposed that they marked the beginning of what would become, within a century or two, one of the greatest Powers of the world. This growth was due to the geographical conditions, to the geographical factors controlling European history, and to a further discovery of how to use energy to greater advantage.

The settlements were outside the limits of extreme winter cold and of extreme summer heat. There is, indeed, no part of the eastern coast of North America which has a climate at all comparable with that of Britain, but the lands actually settled were more like those of the old country than any to north or south. The climatic conditions go far to explain the situation of the greatest of the American cities and especially that of New York.

The forested highlands formed a barrier, and well it was so ; the small communities in New England and Virginia were kept together; the land they claimed was really occupied, and was not like the great stretch from the mouth of the Mississippi to the mouth of the St. Lawrence,

a vast expanse with a wandering Frenchman, hunter or missionary, here and there. And yet through this barrier is an easy way open to the ocean tide for the first 150 miles from the sea. On these sheltered waters first sailed Henry Hudson and his Dutchmen seeking the way to the Indies, and by the valley called after its first explorer and by the valley of the tributary Mohawk men might reach the lowlands on the west. When the time came, the English settlers were able to strike through, break the French line from the interior position, and occupy the central lowland effectively.

The defeat of the French was not due only to those facts. Had the Frenchmen on the St. Lawrence been strongly supported by France, there might have been a different result ; but, as we have seen, French coloniz ing policy, influenced by the geographical conditions, was not continuous ; these settlers were not energetically supported from France. The stronger strategic position of the British was used effectively and the land became British, though there remains on the northern shores of the St. Lawrence a community where the French language is spoken, where customs and manners betray a French origin, and yet where it is felt that no allegiance is due to France.

On the eastern seaboard of North America, then, just because the land is different, the political units are more stable than are those conquered by Spain. The land was really colonized; men and women, having great powers of initiative, settled and saved energy, which they won from the soil by their own efforts. The stock was pure, there were no hall-breeds ; those who fixed the type of government and social custom were no soldiers and celibate priests whose watchwords were glory, gold and gospel; they were picked by their very originality. Colonization takes longer than con quest, but it is more effective. Those who came later of different stocks, speaking different languages, were one by one absorbed, and added strength to the whole.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6