History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 731 pages of information about History of the United States.

In the South the westward march was equally swift.  The seaboard was quickly occupied by large planters and their slaves engaged in the cultivation of tobacco and rice.  The Piedmont Plateau, lying back from the coast all the way from Maryland to Georgia, was fed by two streams of migration, one westward from the sea and the other southward from the other colonies—­Germans from Pennsylvania and Scotch-Irish furnishing the main supply.  “By 1770, tide-water Virginia was full to overflowing and the ‘back country’ of the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah was fully occupied.  Even the mountain valleys ... were claimed by sturdy pioneers.  Before the Declaration of Independence, the oncoming tide of home-seekers had reached the crest of the Alleghanies.”

[Illustration:  DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION, 1790]

Beyond the mountains pioneers had already ventured, harbingers of an invasion that was about to break in upon Kentucky and Tennessee.  As early as 1769 that mighty Nimrod, Daniel Boone, curious to hunt buffaloes, of which he had heard weird reports, passed through the Cumberland Gap and brought back news of a wonderful country awaiting the plow.  A hint was sufficient.  Singly, in pairs, and in groups, settlers followed the trail he had blazed.  A great land corporation, the Transylvania Company, emulating the merchant adventurers of earlier times, secured a huge grant of territory and sought profits in quit rents from lands sold to farmers.  By the outbreak of the Revolution there were several hundred people in the Kentucky region.  Like the older colonists, they did not relish quit rents, and their opposition wrecked the Transylvania Company.  They even carried their protests into the Continental Congress in 1776, for by that time they were our “embryo fourteenth colony.”

INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Though the labor of the colonists was mainly spent in farming, there was a steady growth in industrial and commercial pursuits.  Most of the staple industries of to-day, not omitting iron and textiles, have their beginnings in colonial times.  Manufacturing and trade soon gave rise to towns which enjoyed an importance all out of proportion to their numbers.  The great centers of commerce and finance on the seaboard originated in the days when the king of England was “lord of these dominions.”

[Illustration:  DOMESTIC INDUSTRY:  DIPPING TALLOW CANDLES]

=Textile Manufacture as a Domestic Industry.=—­Colonial women, in addition to sharing every hardship of pioneering, often the heavy labor of the open field, developed in the course of time a national industry which was almost exclusively their own.  Wool and flax were raised in abundance in the North and South.  “Every farm house,” says Coman, the economic historian, “was a workshop where the women spun and wove the serges, kerseys, and linsey-woolseys which served for the common wear.”  By the close of the

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History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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