This essay was written by Henry M. Herman of Safe Harbor, Pa., an 1860 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College. Composed as a freshman, Mr. Herman's essay describes how America advanced into such a strong nation over such a short period of time. He is extremely patriotic and many times comments that no other country can compare to the best nation on earth.
Melissa P. Hatten
There is no country in the whole universe that can compare with America in respect to Progression. but three hundred and sixty four years ago this country was one vast wilderness, inhabited by a barbarous and uncivilized race. Now behold the change! The place where this city now stands was then perchance the site of some Indian village or, an unbroken and trackless forest. No white man had ever penetrated these romantic wilds; no sound of the axe felling the giant monarch of the forest ever resounded through these woods; no splendid edifice devoted to the cause of education, like the one which we now have the honor of occupying - had reared its lofty spires toward Heaven in this place. Such was America a few centuries ago on the 22nd day of September 1620
"A land of exiles moored their bark
on the wild New England Shore."
Before that day the pilgrims fathers landed upon the bleak and uninhabited Plymouth rock. That day can be considered the birthday of the proudest nation on earth. the pilgrim fathers endured many hardships and trials, even privation and want. "Tradition informs us that they were once reduced to a pint of corn which when distributed each received "only five kernels." But with a determined will they pressed onward until they had obtained a firm foothold in the new world. Though the colony at the end of ten years contained but three hundred souls. Yet during that time a few colonies had been planted along the coast. For a short time colonies were planted from Maine to Louisiana which even then began to show opposition to the unjust demands of the mother country. Who would have even that from this small land would spring forth one of the most powerful nations on earth. The places once occupied by the infant colonies are now filled with large cities, inhabited by thousands of human beings engaged in the various pursuits of life. The mighty forests have been hewn down, and the soil cultivated. Schools, Colleges and Seminaries of learning are scattered over the whole continent. Churches of every creed have been erected, where every man can worship his God according to the dictates of his own conscience. Here seas and rivers are covered with noble vessels engaged in an immense commerce with distant nations. The light and frail canoe of the Indians can only be seen gliding alone upon the rivers of the far west. Railroads and canals have been constructed which connect together the most distant parts of the country. what man but two centuries ago would have predicted such results? America acquired resolution by the oppression and gathered strength through efforts made to crush her by the mother country. After a struggle of eight years with England, America was declared free and independent, the army disbanded and George Washington was appointed President of the new republic; having a federal constitution for his guide. No people ever endeavored to build up a government under a Constitution whose parts are so wisely connected. No nation has ever possessed a prosperity to equal ours. Our territory is now ample, our soil is fertile, our climate salubrious, and we have every facility which can add to the prosperity of a comparatively young nation. After many years of struggling, America has attained to the highest pinnacle of fame and honor, and is now one of the most powerful nations in the world.
Henry M. Herman
Oct. 10th 1856