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Page 9 text:
THE ORIOLE Page 5 (The Class of 1927 of the Pulaski High School hereby expresses its appreciation of the following contribution for The Oriole from the Hon. Lyon G. Tyler, Presi- dent Emeritus of William and Mary College, and son of the late John Tyler, ex-President of the United States.) AN ERA OF ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS 1776-1926 NE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS what a flood of thoughts these words suggest! During that time what changes in society and government have taken place throughout the world! What progress in science has occurred, what inventions have revolutionized agriculture, surgery, engineering, and all the other arts! Not always has man worked steadily and honestly to this end. Oftentimes his ways have been crooked and directly opposed. Unjust wars have set back the world and the im- mediate results have been sometimes lamentable. But some- how the onrushing tide of civilization, however obstructed, has swept over all impediments to higher and nobler conditions. There can be no doubt that the happiness of the human race, the security of private property, and the safety of mankind everywhere have been enormously increased. Only one great Hand could be capable of accomplishing this glorious result — “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.” The previous one hundred and fifty years had, of course, its changes and developments, but outside of the accumulation of stock and personal property the conditions ot the individual life in 1776 were not greatly different from the conditions in 1626. The domestic and farming utensils were practically the same. Plows had been known in Virginia from the earliest days but they were little more than a point of hard wood or iron which tore up the ground. We are told that in Virginia, as late as 1770, nearly all of the work done in the fields was with the hoe, and transportation on the farms was done, not by carts, but by casks rolled about on the land. Man was not idle, however. The nature of gravity and electricity was explained and the power of steam was demonstrated. Chemistry was cultivated and made great advances. Some have claimed that the master invention of this period was the table fork. Till late in the 17th century that humble but useful instrument was
Page 10 text:
Page 6 THE ORIOLE unknown to the average Englishman or Virginian, and its com- ing sharply defined the man of that age from the man of all preceding ages. It set a new standard of taste. Some have attributed the paralysis which attended Chinese civilization to the use of the chop-stick. Of course, the development of our own country has for us the greater interest. At the beginning of 1776 the United States was a small confederacy of about 3,000,000 people, and in 1920, according to the census of that year, the population, not including its outlying dependencies, was 105,710,620. The extent of its territory in 1790 was 892,135 square miles and in 1920 it was 3,026,789 square miles. At the beginning of the period there were no railroads, no steamboats, no telegraph or telephone lines, no automobiles, and indeed few of the ac- companiments that render modern life so agreeable. The Mississippi bounded on the west territory of the United States, but beyond the Alleghany Mountains the population was scant and scattered. We naturally think of the part played by Virginia in this great development. Democracy, immigration and territorial aggrandizement have been the keynotes of the American ex- pansion, and it was Virginia that led the way in sounding these notes. Under the guidance of Jefferson and the great Repub- lican party, of which Virginia was the headquarters, the prin- ciples of expatriation and democracy were infused into the soul of the country, and it was owing to her pioneers, led by her Washington and her George Rogers Clark, that the gateway of the West was thrown open, and the march of the country begun overland to the Pacific. At the head of the great pro- cession went the spirit of the Virginia Presidents — Jefferson, Monroe and Tyler. Thus the area of the United States was increased, and thousands of the hardy population of Europe came to swell the population of this country. Nor has science felt hardly less the exacting touch of ir- ginia’s plastic hand. It was James Rumsey, of Shepherds- town, Virginia, that first successfully applied steam to river navigation in 1786. It was Henry Draper, of Prince Edward County, who discovered oxygen in the sun by photography, pronounced by many the most brilliant discovery of his day. It was Cyrus II. McCormick, of Rockbridge County, irginia, who revolutionized the agriculture of the world by his invention of the reaper which gave a stimulus to all other agricultural
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