Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rivers' Influence on Civilizations

My favorite historian, Douglas Southall Freeman (1886 – 1953),
c. 1916 as the new editor of the Richmond News Leader.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
A nation's rivers are its first highways. Down them pass its first adventurers. From them radiate its first explorers. About them develop its traditions and its mysteries. There was mystery in the Nile, mystery in the Tigris, mystery in the Maeander, mystery in the Tiber. Why were they the first settlements of great states, and why had the sons of those streams a distinctive spirit? Why did they cradle each a civilization, and why was each different? These questions, asked of the ancient, we may apply to our rivers of mystery, our James, our Potomac, our Hudson, our Ohio, and our Mississippi. From the James grew Virginia; from the Potomac came the wonderful group of Westmoreland 5 statesmen; from the Hudson came that daring spirit of trade; from the Mississippi came daring voyagers and men with mind of a stamp; from the Ohio came Abraham Lincoln.

- Douglas Southall Freeman

More on Douglas Southall Freeman.

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