The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940

Book Reviews

historical background against which the fortunes of the family
should have been presented.
Oberlin College.
Cities in the Wilderness, 1625-1742. By Carl Bridenbaugh. (New
York: The Ronald Press Co., 1938. Pp. xiv, 500. Illus-
trations. $5.00.)
It will be difficult for any reviewer of this book to write a review
which will be better than the first four paragraphs which Professor
Bridenbaugh wrote for his preface. It will not be amiss, then,
either to select passages from these paragraphs or to paraphrase
Because "both materially and psychologically urban factors
govern much of American life," Professor Bridenbaugh has under-
taken to delve into the origins of these factors with the purpose
of showing that they "germinated with the earliest settlement on
American soil." He selected five representative towns-Boston,
Newport, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston-because they
are representative of the "physical, economic, social, and cultural
aspects" of an "emerging urban society." These cities were the
largest in America when the American Revolution broke out and
they are representative of "geographical position and political
Professor Bridenbaugh supports the interesting thesis also that
"frontier democracy and individualism" were not the only factors
which left their stamp on colonial life. He aptly says: "Com-
mercial as well as agrarian interests dictated political if not also
social revolution; most of the intellectual activity and much of
the social and political advance of the eighteenth century depended
upon an urban rather than a rural environment; certainly a large
part of our radical thought came neither from farm nor forest but
from the seaboard towns."
The plan of Professor Bridenbaugh's book presents a division
into three parts, each of which shows a stage in the growth of
these cities in the American wilderness. The first part shows "The
Planting of the Villages, 1625-1690"; the second part traces
"The Awakening of Civic Consciousness, 1690-1720"; and the
third discusses "The Towns Become Cities, 1720-1742." Each of

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 6, 2016.