The Golden Age of Colonial Culture

The Golden Age of Colonial Culture

The Golden Age of Colonial Culture

The Golden Age of Colonial Culture

Excerpt

The American colonies produced no Shakespeare, no Michael Angelo, no Beethoven, no Pasteur; they could boast of no great accomplishment in music, or painting, or literature, or sculpture, or architecture; their only noted scientist was Benjamin Franklin. While Newton was discovering the laws of gravity, Harvey was studying the circulation of the blood, Milton, Jonson, Defoe, Pope, and others were writing their immortal works, Americans were busy chiefly with the axe, the hoe, and the saw. And this is as it should have been. The task which confronted them was not to make new contributions to civilization, but to extend its borders, to win for it a vast continent. A mighty task it was, a noble task, and right well was it accomplished.

The America of colonial days has been likened to a banquet, where the first comers, finding a feast awaiting them prepared by nature, had only to help themselves. It is true that theirs were the riches of a continent, but only on condition that they wrest it from stubborn Mother Nature. They had to risk the dangerous voyage across the ocean in the tiny vessels of the day, make their clearings in the forest, build their little cabins unaided by carpenters or bricklayers, put out their crops of wheat and corn, face the peril of the tomahawk, of hunger, of dreaded diseases. Their life was full of unremitting toil and severe hardships; it was not to be expected that they should create musical masterpieces or add to the world's knowledge of chemistry or botany. "No thing new and extraordinary in literature from this part of the world is to be expected," wrote Cadwallader Colden, "but as we are improving this wilderness . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.