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The History of the Dividing Line Essay

The History of the Dividing Line is an account of the surveying trip that William Byrd led to draw the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. The History of the Dividing Line is a story about the early travelers’ journey to America. In this story, Byrd is writing about the early travelers coming to America. The romantic quality of his writing left the History without a greater context until the nineteenth century when the Romantic Movement began. This single text, and its treatment through the ages, represents the perception of the American wilderness as a concept, both at home and abroad, over the span of three centuries. In this essay, I would be discussing the summary of The History of the Dividing Line.

The History of the Dividing Line is based on account from Byrd’s journal. It also reveals the dichotomy of his own identity as well as his perception of America and the American wilderness. When I examined the text, it was possible to see the relationship between Byrd’s colonial views of the wilderness and his more progressive appreciation and even celebration of the wilderness. It shows how they present the American idea of trust, which evolved to become a concept where people respect God, each other, and authority.

On March 14, before nine o’clock in the morning, the early travelers were getting packed and ready to go on their journey through the wilderness. The early travelers were weighed down with heavy backpacks on their back. “Besides their luggage at their backs, they were obliged to measure the distance, mark the trees, and clear the way for the surveyors every step they went.” There was a moment when they got a chance to relax and enjoy their accomplishments. They were also traveling for a very long time but the weather was nice and warm.

The pioneers not only feared and resented the wilderness but they felt that the “conquest” of the American wilderness was a necessary part of the process of civilization. The settlers’ lives were so closely connected to the wilderness that they were unable to distance themselves from it enough to appreciate it. The pre-modern pioneers were tightly bound to the natural world around them. The length of their days and the activities in which they¬†were able to engage were dictated by the weather, the temperature and the time of year- all forces over which they had no control.

Furthermore, the settlers had to forge their homes from the resources available in the wilderness around them. In domesticating the wilderness and destroying the wild quality of the land around them the pioneers felt that they were exerting a limited amount of control over their situation. The cultivation and taming of this wild land reassured the settlers that they were not totally helpless in the wilderness and eased their minds about the forces of evil they suspected were lurking within its boundaries.

William Byrd’s experiences on this expedition served as the factual basis for his History of the Dividing Line. The History of the Dividing Line was based on an account from his journal. His journal was discussing his whole experience in the wilderness. It was also discussing all the obstacles he had to go through during the journey. In this essay, I discussed the summary of The History of the Dividing Line.


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