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distribution of population, of wealth, and even of political parties, are very significant when studied in relation. Eastern Yorkshire and western Lancashire are strongly conservative in politics; western Yorkshire and eastern Lancashire tend to radicalism ; the eastern part of the one county and the western part of the other are mainly agricultural districts, where the influence of the upper classes and of the farmers is decisive, while within these limits lies a great manufacturing, mining, and trading population, with wit, education, and radical opinions. " Those who examine Lancashire schools are struck,” says Professor Bryce, " by the difference between the sharpness of the boys in the east Lancashire hill country and the sluggishness of those who dwell on the flats along the coast between Liverpool and Morecambe.” The mines of Lancashire called manufactures into being and created trade; and these factors, with all that they imply, have changed the region from a fastness of Toryism into a hive of Radicalism. ...
Mr. Buckle points out that the growth of civilization is possible only in countries having a class of men who possess the time, the disposition, and the means to observe and to investigate the various subjects upon which such growth depends, as the facts of Nature and the laws of the human mind. But a class of men in the possession of leisure, disposition to study, and opportunity to study, can exist only in countries where there is a sufficient accumulation of wealth to free them from the necessity of constant physical toil. Obviously, if every man is intensely absorbed in the struggle for physical existence, society cannot move forward. The accumulation of wealth depends upon natural factors; soil and climate condition the rewards of labor, climate conditions the energy and constancy of labor. Hence those countries were sure to become the earliest seats of civilization where Nature provided good opportunities for the accumulation of wealth, and so the material possibility of study and mental progress. Finally, he remarks that such conditions existed in Hindustan and in Egypt, in Central America, in Mexico, and in Peru, countries that became early if not the earliest seats of civilization on their respective continents. Herodotus called Egypt the gift of the Nile. The Nile Valley is a thick deposit of the richest soil, which the annual overflow of the river constantly replenishes; the rainless sky and the equable temperature make continuous labor possible, while the river furnishes the source of natural or artificial irrigation. The early husbandman was assured good harvests and abundant food, and thus the first condition of progress was secured.
Greece affords one of the best illustrations of the effect of environment upon historical development. The psychological effects of the sky and atmosphere have already been mentioned. The geniality of the
climate tends to moderation in eating and to the use of light clothing, necessities that the country well supplied; as a result, man was not compelled to undergo grinding toil to procure the means of material subsistence, and so was left with time to indulge the disposition to investigate, which all the influences that played upon him tended to create. The country is a peninsula, or rather a complex of peninsulas, the whole singularly pierced by gulfs and bays, as well as crossed and recrossed by mountain ranges, and so divided into a great number of small plains and valleys, each more or less cut off from the others, at the same time that it lies open to the sea. At no point is the traveler far from the seashore, and at few points is he out of sight of the great mountain mass of Parnassus, which occupies such an important place in Greek history. It is said to be very difficult for one who has never visited Greece to realize the diminutive scope of its geography. Attica and Ægina together contain no more than seven hundred and fifty square miles of territory, and in antiquity they never had a population exceeding half a million people. In addition to this remarkable accessibility from the sea, attention must be drawn to the larger geographical relations of Greece — to the islands, large and small, that surround it on all sides except the north; to the not distant shores of Thrace, of Asia Minor, of Africa, and of Italy; to the Black Sea, to the Nile, and to the Mediterranean. In these factors scholars have found causes of the most prominent features of the Greek mind and life; the wonderful mental gifts of the people, their seafaring, trading, and colonizing habits, their free, adventurous spirit, and especially their political institutions, and the whole form and spirit of their public life. In her early history Greece contained about as many independent states as she had definite units of territory, plain or valley; a state of things that resulted in a free and vigorous political life, marked by intense patriotism and local spirit, but tending to division and strife, to the lack of general political ideas, to internal war, to what the Germans call particularism, and Americans States-rights, and so to eventual weakness. The final result was, since these divisive and separatist tendencies could never be overcome, that Greece became a prey to internal faction and external force. Environment, first by contributing to the creation of the people, and then to the direction and control of their activity, certainly had much to do with causing the brilliant development and early decadence of the Grecian race. It was no miracle and no accident that the first European civilization, and in some respects the greatest European civilization, sprang up in Greece.
As a rule, the location of cities has been controlled by what Mr. Mackinder happily calls "geographical selection.” Two excellent examples of such selection may be borrowed from that writer. On the northeast of the Ganges Valley lie the vast Himalayas, practically impassable to man; on the northwest is the Sulaiman range, pierced by passes through which numerous conquerors have entered India from the uplands of Iran. Parallel with the Sulaiman is the Thar, or great Indian Desert. Between the desert and the Himalayas the fertile belt is closely contracted, forming a pass that affords the only approach to the valley at that extremity. Close to the eastern end of this pass, at the head of the Ganges navigation, stands Delhi, the natural center of commerce and the natural base of military operations in all that region. At its eastern extremity the valley is very inaccessible, owing to the absence of natural harbors and to the heavy surfs that beat upon the shore. But the mouth of the river is a great water gate for the interior, and here on the Hooghly, at the intersection of ocean and river transportation, a natural base of naval and military operations, the British have built up Calcutta. The fertility of the Ganges Valley is proverbial; at its extremities are found the two gates of India, and it is quite in the nature of things that these gates are held by the cities of Delhi and Calcutta.
Alexander located the city that bears his name at the intersection of the Mediterranean and Nile commerce, having particularly in view the control of the most southern of the old lines of communication between the Indies and the West. For many centuries Alexandria was the grand depot from which the Indian goods were distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin. Constantinople is the gate both to the Black Sea and the Ægean, both to southeastern Europe and northwestern Asia, according as you approach it from the one direction or the other. This city also sits upon one of the old channels of Eastern commerce.
Study of the cities of Italy is peculiarly interesting. Rome was probably founded by shepherds, who, moved by volcanic disturbances or by an insufficiency of pasture lands, or by both, descended with their flocks and herds from their ancestral seats on the Alban hills into the extensive and fertile plain watered by the Tiber and encircled by mountains and the sea that has long been known as the Campagna. Coming to the conspicuous group of hills and ridges near the river, they seized and fortified the Palatine, which best met their need of a dwelling place and a protection. Livy describes Rome as situated on healthy hills, by a convenient river, equally adapted to inland and maritime commerce, the sea not too far off to prevent a brisk international trade, or so near as to expose it to the danger of a sudden attack from foreign vessels ; a site right in the center of the peninsula — a site made, as it were, on purpose to allow the city to become the greatest in the world. No whit inferior were the military and political advantages of the site. ... The great change in their circumstances wrought a gradual change in the character of the primitive shepherds and their descendants. They took on one that better suited their new position. Planted as they were in a meeting place of nations, brought into close and constant competition with the strongest peoples of Italy, the Romans developed those practical, industrial, and business habits, and those military and political virtues that finally gave them universal empire. Rome made the Romans quite as much as the Romans made Rome. Hidden away in some out-of-the-way place, there is not the slightest reason to think that they would ever have made a name in history. All roads led to Rome before the first one had been built.
It is interesting to observe the relations of the principal cities of Northern Italy to the great valley of the Po on the one side and to the mountain passes that connect the Peninsula with Central and Western Europe on the other. Turin commands the approach to the Mont Cenis Pass from the south. Milan, which has as changeful a history perhaps as any city in Europe, stands almost in the mouths of the Simplon and St. Gothard passes. Verona is at the opening of the Brenner. It is difficult to imagine a state of things in Northern Italy other than complete barbarism in which Milan would not be an important city. At first one might not detect the hand of geographical selection in the case of Venice. Still, under the extraordinary circumstances of the times in which it was founded its site was happily chosen. In his course of destruction, Attila obliterated many towns, including the colony of Aquilia, which stood at the head of the Adriatic, in some such relation as Trieste stands to-day. The homeless inhabitants of Aquilia sought refuge among the islands formed by the detritus brought down to the gulf by the network of rivers that rise in the Alps and that discharge themselves on that shore. This immigration was the beginning of Venice. Shut in by the sea, cut off from the land, protected by her inaccessibility, favored in later times by the Eastern Empire, and planted on what was long the best route for the conveyance of the rich products of Indian commerce to Central and Western Europe, Venice slowly raised her obscure head above the mud of the lagoons, developed a population rich in practical talents and in genius, and won and long held a foremost place among the powers of the world. ...
Geographical selection is easily recognizable in the location of the large cities of our own country. New York has clearly demonstrated its superiority to all other points on the Atlantic coast as a great mart of trade. At the time of the Revolution both Boston and Philadelphia had about the same population, but once connected with the West by a great line of internal communication, the Erie Canal, its extraordinary growth began. It should have been perfectly apparent from the first • opening up of the Great West to the light of civilization, that whenever that vast region should become the seat of empire, there would be a great center of population, trade, and wealth at the head of Lake Michigan, at or near where Chicago stands. San Francisco is only the redemption of Nature's pledge that a great city would spring up at the Golden Gate whenever the Pacific Slope should really come into the possession of civilized men.
In such a sketch as the present one the sea calls for little more than casual mention. That it modifies climate, changing temperature and distributing moisture, and so bringing fertility of soil ; that it affects the character and habits and the pursuits of men and nations; that it yields rich harvests of wealth to the industry of man — furs, fish, pearls, sponges, corals, ivory, amber, salt, oil, and chemicals; that it furnishes the great highways of commerce and of war, and opens to the statesman and jurist a whole volume of questions that profoundly affect human progress — these are commonplaces. The influence of sea currents, of the trade winds and the monsoons upon human society, is suggested, if not worked out, in every book of physical geography. On the maritime and naval side history does full justice to the theme. ...
What has been said in this chapter is but a meager treatment of a great subject. It will, however, serve to explain the stress that historians place on environment, and also emphasize the observations of a distinguished living scholar: "A national history, as it seems to us, ought to commence with a survey of the country or locality — its geographical position, climate, productions, and other physical circumstances as they bear on the character of the people. We ought to be presented, in short, with a complete description of the scene of the historic drama, as well as with an account of the race to which the actors belong. In the early stages of its development, at all events, man is mainly the creature of physical circumstances; and by a systematic examination of physical circumstances we may to some extent cast the horoscope of the infant nation as it lies in the arms of Nature.”
· 23. The natural environment. The influence of physical conditions, with special emphasis on their relation to economic life, is forcibly stated in the following paragraphs :
Man, like all animals, is indissolubly bound to the soil. He is in last resort dependent upon nature for what he is and what he has accomplished. This is especially true of his economic life, which, as we have