The Colonial Period
"Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation."
威澳门尼斯人官网， John Smith, founder of the colony of Virginia, 1607
Within the span of a hundred years, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a tide of emigration -one of the great folk wanderings of history-swept from Europe to America. 46 This movement, impelled by powerful and diverse motivations, built a nation out of a wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent。
47 Today, the United States is the product of two principal forces-the immigration of European peoples with their varied ideas, customs, and national characteristics and the impact of a new country which modified these distinctly European cultural traits. Of necessity, colonial America was a projection of Europe. Across the Atlantic came successive groups of Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Scots, Irishmen, Dutchmen, Swedes, and many others who attempted to transplant their habits and traditions to the new world. 48 But, inevitably, the force of geographic conditions peculiar to America, the interplay of the varied national groups upon one another, and the sheer difficulty of maintaining old-world ways in a raw, new continent caused significant changes. These changes were gradual and at first scarcely visible. But the result was a new social pattern which, although it resembled European society in many ways, had a character that was distinctly American。
49 The first shiploads of immigrants bound for the territory which is now the United States crossed the Atlantic more than a hundred years after the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorations of North America. In the meantime, thriving Spanish colonies had been established in Mexico, the West Indies, and South America. These travelers to North America came in small, unmercifully overcrowded craft. During their six- to twelve-week voyage, they subsisted on meager rations. Many of the ships were lost in storms, many passengers died of disease, and infants rarely survived the journey. Sometimes tempests blew the vessels far off their course, and often calm brought interminable delay。
To the anxious travelers the sight of the American shore brought almost inexpressible relief. Said one chronicler, "The air at twelve leagues' distance smelt as sweet as a new-blown garden." The colonists' first glimpse of the new land was a vista of dense woods. 50 The virgin forest with its profusion and variety of trees was a veritable treasure-house which extended over 1,300 miles from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. Here was abundant fuel and lumber. Here was the raw material of houses and furniture, ships and potash, dyes and naval stores。