Friday, July 20, 2012
270. American Ginseng and Americanization
Much has been written about the Ginseng’s contributions to the American effort to open the trade with China, but its impact on the social development has been neglected. It should be noted that American Ginseng had helped change American society in the early period of the United States. For example, the Westward expansion was promoted by the pioneers who looked for exploitable natural resources and new commercial opportunities.
Driven by the need of gathering enough Ginseng worthy for the journey of long distance to China, Ginseng diggers and traders were soon found in the Appalachian Mountains and other areas where Ginseng was readily available. After gathering them together, the merchants would transport the herbs from the interiors of Pennsylvania and Virginia to Philadelphia, New York, or Boston. “
This proved to be an important educational influence, since it was almost the only way in which the pioneer learned what was going on in the East.” As a result, the huge masses of Ginseng diggers, traders, and transporters changed the society. “Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World.”