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NEW FORCES AND NEW TASKS
HE first steps toward union, freedom, and democ- America
racy had been taken, as we have seen, long spells before America was settled or even discovered. oppor
tunity Progress along all these lines continued in Europe. Nevertheless the struggle for liberty in the Old World was hard and often discouraging. Beginning with the Pilgrims who came in the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620, multitudes from all the countries of Europe came to America to find here a land of freedom, a land of opportunity. Sometimes it was religious freedom that they sought. This was the case with many of the first emigrants from England in the years 1620-40. Sometimes it was the opportunity to have land and homes of their own, with greater opportunity to work out their own lives. This seems to have brought many of the Scotch-Irish a century later. Sometimes it was political liberty that was most prominent, as with the Germans who came in 1848. Frequently it has been several motives combined. In the Old World the power of kings and nobility was tenacious; the division between gentry and common folk was firmly fixed and only rarely could a man of lower class break over this division. The land was nearly all owned by the gentry. Laws often favored the ruling class. Religion was controlled in many ways by the government. In England, after the time of Henry VIII, the king was head of the church. At the time when the early settlers
began to come to this country religious persecution
Give me white paper!
When all God's children had forgot their birth,
Give me white paper!'
In answer he compelled the sea
The secret she had kept so well!
For all mankind that unstained scroll unfurled,
We purpose in this chapter to note briefly the new conditions that have made life in America in many ways freer and more democratic than life in the Old World. In later chapters we shall take up in succession what we may call the spirit of America and its contribution to human life. The four great aspects of this spirit and contribution are (1) Liberty, (2) Union, (3) Democracy, and (4) Free coöperation with other nations.
The great facts which we notice in this chapter are (1) the kind or class of people who came to America, (2) the influence of free land, (3) the influence of the frontier, (4) the influence in more recent years of the Industrial Revolution. This last is not peculiar to
Four factors in American life