Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/32

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Science and Citizenship

make through the forest, or the buffalo across the prairie. The cities themselves are but temporary encampments of herding groups of animals, determined or conditioned by such natural features as a river or a plain, an estuary or a mountain, a coal-bed or a forest. How relatively slight a geographical disturbance is made by the building of a city—even a modern capital city—may be realised by recalling, that practically the whole of the new town of Edinburgh is built out of a local sandstone quarry, so small that its floor would not afford camping space to a travelling circus.


XII

The foregoing account is intended to suggest the geographer's vision as it is in his naturalist or cosmic mood. But the geographer is himself a man and a citizen, and as geographer he still has his humanist or idealist mood. Viewed in his humanist or idealist mood, the world drama undergoes for the geographer a profound change. The perspective changes from the cosmic to the human focus. The typical river valley, which is the essential regional unit of the geographer, is no longer a mere fold of the earth's crust in its endless and aimless cycle of changes, but is conceived as the realisation of a great purpose. The long geological history of the river valley is seen as the preliminary preparation to fit it to be the scene of the exploits and aspirations of a godlike race of beings, such as is suggested and foreshadowed

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