America forms the longest and straightest bone in the earth's skeleton.
Year by year we are learning that in this restless, strenuous American life of ours vacations are essential.
We are learning, too, that the love of beauty is one of Nature's greatest healers.
The coast of British Columbia was one of the three chief centers of aboriginal America.
With every throb of the climatic pulse which we have felt in Central Asia,, the centre of civilisation has moved this way and that. Each throb has sent pain and decay to the lands whose day was done, life and vigour to those whose day was yet to be.
Man could not stay there forever. He was bound to spread to new regions, partly because of his innate migratory tendency and partly because of Nature's stern urgency.
Thus the races, though alike in their physical response to climate, may possibly be different in their mental response because they have approached America by different paths.
Although mountains may guide migrations, the plains are the regions where people dwell in greatest numbers.
A journey of four hundred and thirty miles can be made in any part of the United States, but in Turkey it takes as many days.
As a matter of fact, an ordinary desert supports a much greater variety of plants than does either a forest or a prairie.
Geologists are rapidly becoming convinced that the mammals spread from their central Asian point of origin largely because of great variations in climate.
It will be a vast boon to mankind when we learn to prophesy the precise dates when cycles of various kinds will reach definite stages.
No part of the world can be truly understood without a knowledge of its garment of vegetation, for this determines not only the nature of the animal inhabitants but also the occupations of the majority of human beings.
In fact, the history of North America has been perhaps more profoundly influenced by man's inheritance from his past homes than by the physical features of his present home.
Fertile soil, level plains, easy passage across the mountains, coal, iron, and other metals imbedded in the rocks, and a stimulating climate, all shower their blessings upon man.
Although farming of any sort was almost as impossible in the plains as in the dry regions of winter rains farther west, the abundance of buffaloes made life much easier in many respects.
Nevertheless most of the evergreen forests of the north must always remain the home of wild animals and trappers, a backward region in which it is easy for a great fur company to maintain a practical monopoly.
Curiously enough man's body and his mind appear to differ in their climatic adaptations.
Except on their southern borders the great northern forests are not good as a permanent home for man.
The Negro, however, has been tested on an extensive scale.
For the source of any characteristic so widespread and uniform as this adaptation to environment we must go back to the very beginning of the human race.
From first to last the civilization of America has been bound up with its physical environment.
History in its broadest aspect is a record of man's migrations from one environment to another.
The whole history of life is a record of cycles.
The human organism inherits so delicate an adjustment to climate that, in spite of man's boasted ability to live anywhere, the strain of the frozen North eliminates the more nervous and active types of mind.
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