"on the edge of the Western wilderness"
This painting contrasts the majestic expanse of the wilderness with the comparative insignificance of the colonists
Public DomainThis painting contrasts the majestic expanse of the wilderness with the comparative insignificance of the colonists - Credit: James Peale

Though the Great Migration of 1630-40 had seen some 20,000 people join the original Puritan settlers, in 1642 they remained very much confined to their colonies. The surrounding land remained an impassable wilderness. It wasn’t until the following century, when the colonists became convinced of their Manifest Destiny to settle the entire continent, that attempts to tame these solitudes were made. 

The First Harvest in the Wilderness
Public DomainThe First Harvest in the Wilderness - Credit: Asher Brown Durand