Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 157
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 157
 
the revolted colonies had become—were extremely vulnerable to assault. Their settled territory lay in a narrow belt, stretching for a thousand miles along the coast. Its breadth was but a hundred miles or so, in most places; then it faded off, the inland frontier lying vaguely in the vast, melancholy, Indian-haunted forests. The ferocious and unending warfare with the red woodland tribes kept the thinly scattered pioneers busy defending their own hearthstones, and gave them but scant breathing spells in which to come to the help of their brethren in the old settled regions. The eastern frontier was the coast-line itself, which was indented by countless sounds, bays, and harbors, and here and there broken by great estuaries or tide-water rivers, which could carry hostile fleets into the heart of the land. The bulk of the population, and all the chief towns, lay in easy striking distance from the sea. Almost all the intercolonial trade went along the water-ways, either up and down the rivers, or skirting the coast. There was no important fortress or fortified city; no stronghold of note. A war power having command of the seas possessed the most enormous advantage. It menaced the home trade almost as much as the foreign, threatened the whole exposed coast-line,—and therefore the settled country which lay alongside it,—could concentrate its forces wherever it wished, and could penetrate the

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