GILBERT CHINARD, LL.D.,
Long before the Declaration of Independence, two entirely different and opposite views of the future of America manifested themselves in the British colonies. They corresponded in fact to two different philosophies of life: one reflecting what might be called an old world or European point of view; the other one already embodying some of the most essential features of what was to become the doctrine of Americanism.
It has been often observed that men modify very slowly their intellectual habits even in new surroundings. Despite new conditions and new ways of life, for a long time, many colonists failed to realize the limitless potentialities of the country in which they had established "plantations." Their thoughts continued to run in accustomed channels, even when they began to think of the new settlements as a sort of unit having an entity and rights of its own. One of the common sense conclusions, which had been reached before Montesquieu had given to it a final and almost axiomatic form, was that great danger lay in territorial expansion and in mere size. Between the ideal of a perfectly ordained society, which prevailed chiefly in New England, and the vast expanse of land extending beyond the horizon, existed a sort of antinomy. For various reasons, they had left the mother country, but they turned their eyes towards Europe; one of their chief preoccupations was to implant in the howling wilderness a form of life as closely resembling English life as they could. For generations they had watched the wars waged on the continent and had participated in them. The lessons of history and experience were clear: a small population occupying a large territory was at the mercy of powerful and envious neighbors. They had learned that frontiers have to be protected and defended and, on the North, already they were hard pushed by the ambitious and "turbulent Gallicks"
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Publication information: Book title: Meet Dr. Franklin. Contributors: Not available. Publisher: The Franklin Institute. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1943. Page number: 135.
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