In the Americas, the historic trade routes have run east and west, more than north and south. Geographic necessity has decreed that, subject to possible reorientation with the future development of aviation, the dominant factor influencing the course of commerce with this hemisphere should be the open sea. Westward across the Atlantic, came the explorers, the conquistadors, the pioneers, succeeded by wave after wave of immigration to the New World, seaborne on argosies that, laden with the fabulous spoils and profits of empire, returned to the homelands the tribute of the New to the Old World. Achievement in the Nineteenth Century of political autonomy by the American republics, despite the growth of local industries and markets, did not alter the primary channels of international commerce. Nor did the epochal building of the railroads in place of the more primitive turnpikes and canals do so; from the viewpoint of world trade, these still lead to the great maritime ports, the nerve centers of American civilization, through which the raw materials of the hinterlands are forwarded in exchange for foreign goods. Among the most precious of these goods have been the languages, the laws, the institutions, inventions, ideas, customs, and beliefs that those who came to America brought from Europe. For this reason, generations after the declarations of independence, the main currents of culture lay across the Atlantic to America. In this invisible commerce, the balance .μas been long and largely in Europe's favor.
Hessel E. Yntema,
RESEARCH IN INTER-AMERICAN LAW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol43/iss3/5