THE UNITED STATES 56. Our good country.—When we jour neyed across North America from the south to the north, we were in Canada a part of the time. But when we crossed from the east to the west, we were in the United States all the way. We found that the United States is a very large country. It is also a very good country in which to live and to make a living. The people of the United States are fortunate. The climate is good, so that most of the people are strong and healthy and want to do things. That is why the children in American schools play so hard. In some countries it is too hot to play hard running games. In other countries it is so cold that people sit by the fire all winter as the cat does. In some countries the people are not as healthy as they are in the United States, and when people are sick, they are not happy and they do not feel like doing things.
57. The people of the United States. — Besides being fortunate in having a good climate, our coun try is rich in the materials needed by man for food, clothes, shelter, fire, power, and 'machines. People from other countries like to . come here to live be cause good wages can be paid in a country so rich in the things which men need. People by the thou sands have come from nearly all the coun tries of Europe to live in the United States. Many Canadians also have come to live in the northern part of our country. In the southwest there are many Mexicans, dark haired like their Spanish ancestors. Near the Pacific coast we find some yellow men from China and Japan. In the South are black men whose forefathers were brought from Africa. No other great nation is made up of people from so many countries.
We have over one hundred million people in this great country of ours, but there is enough land for us all. We feed ourselves and have much food to spare. This surplus we can send to the people in other countries. There is much land in the United States that we do not yet use for crops.
58. The growth of the United States.— The early settlers did not have any steam engines or railroads. They had very few machines of any kind. They came ashore from their sailing ships and found them selves in the edge of a woods, a forest so big that it reached for hundreds of miles. They had to cut down big trees and burn them in order to have any cleared ground for gardens. Even then, these new gardens were so full of stumps and roots that the settlers could hardly stick shovels into the earth. We should think it very hard indeed if we had to work as they did for a living as poor as the one they had.
As other settlers came and the colonies grew in size, the people spread over the country toward the west. After the col onists won their independence, the nation went on growing; until now the United States occupies the large central part of the continent, as the map (Fig. 51) of North
America shows. All this growth took a long time, for the country grew slowly at first. For two hundred years after the first settlement, nearly all of the white people of the United States lived east of the eastern highlands, and the Indians still owned most of the country.
The map (Fig. 62) shows how our coun try has grown by getting one great piece of land after another. To-day the United States is one of the largest countries of the world. In addition to our forty-eight states, We own Alaska and many islands (Sec. 256), some of which are in the West Indies, some in the South Pacific Ocean, some in the Western Pacific, and some in the Eastern Pacific. You have heard of the Philippines and of the Hawaiian Islands.
59. Each section of the country helps all the rest.—When the white men first came to America, they worked chiefly at farming, and each family did nearly every thing for itself. The women spun yarn, wove cloth, and made the family clothes. The men grew the wheat from which to make the -bread and raised the animals to provide the meat. Since we have had railroads and steamboats, we have found that many things can be sent to all parts of the country by trains and boats. The level country of the upper Mississippi valley produces grain and meat. The warmer land of the Southern States produces cotton; the Pacific coast sends out fruit. The mountainous regions produce lumber, coal, and metals. Vegetables are shipped from the level, sandy plain along the Atlantic coast. The peo ple on the seashore catch fish, while the town people make all kinds of manufactured goods in their factories.
Many of our forty-eight states are like the states next to them, but are quite different from states in another part of the country, so we divide them into groups when we talk about them, as we divide pupils of a school into classes. Name the groups of states. (Fig. 63.)* Where have they settled? 4. Ask some older person to tell you how many of these people, or their children, helped us in the great World War. 5. From what country did your ancestors come here? 6. What have you eaten to-day that came from a distant part of this country? 7. What debt do we owe to the early settlers? 8. What influence and customs came irem the mother countries? 9. What is Americaniza tion? 10. Give some reasons why the United States is one of the greatest nations.
11. On the map (Fig. 51), ure the length and width of tlif.1 United States in miles and coin pare it in size with the other coun tries in North Americo.. 12. In the reference tables at the back of this book, find the population of Canada ; of the United States. 13. Why can Canada never hope to have as large a population as the United States? 14. What brought the black man from Africa to this country?