During World War II I had the opportunity to be in and around Philadelphia and when I was able, I visited the water fronts and docks. Since then my family and I have visited for a short stop over.
This city was and still is one of the outstanding ports of entry into the United States. It has witnessed many wars, and preparations for such, time after time.
The wars created many historic moments in Philadelphia that history books have related to us over the centuries. These do not necessarily need repeated; in this article, our interest relates to its civil past and present.
Merchant marines. Following the colonial days, it has been one of the foremost in merchant marine ship buildings. Two native Philadelphians, John Fitch and Oliver Evans, were pioneers in steam navigation development. Ships out of Philadelphia were leaders in establishing lucrative trade routes for America.
Earlier in its history Philadelphia was the largest seaport in Colonial America; the date was 1760. This bustling seaport was also the leading economic center as well as the hub of what politics were permitted in those years.
Arts and cultural development also began there. It was also the national capital until 1800. Plus it had a reputation for being the cleanest, healthiest, most attractive and well-governed city.
Growth. Jefferson noted that Philadelphia had well-planned street systems. In 1786, Independence Hall was the largest public building in America. The city was also the center of scientific and medical study and had many book stories plus cultural advancement.
During its first growth years, between 1765 and 1800, population expanded from 18,000 to 70,000.
Many guilds and crafts persons chose Philadelphia for their home. Adventurers and investors chose Philadelphia over New York and other eastern cities.
Nevertheless in such a port where more and more money was invested and new businesses were founded, the gap between the affluent and lower working class widened considerably.
There were so many natural resources – a seemingly endless possibility of further wealth that soon foreign observers saw and voiced the fact that the wealth in America would soon pass Old England.
Roaming ships. After the Revolution, intellectual, observant men entered the merchant marine trade. Their ships roamed the great oceans, and all the ports in Europe were investigated plus the Orient.
These adventurers found openings in ports previously only served by England and European ships. The slightest chance to trade in those ports soon became tremendous and, of course, our European neighbors resented this intrusion and were quite upset.
Philadelphia is a living example of all our freedoms, so many times defended in several ways. The history of our country is a record of a development of all the freedoms permitted by God and man.
Freedoms. Freedom of worship is the most treasured and our choice of how, where and when is not challenged as in some other areas.
My opinion is that if a person does not admire, honor, treasure and love the United States of America, well the boats travel both ways – to our shores or to return the person to where they embarked from.