What would a person coming to America in the late 1700s, but before the Revolution, see when the boat docked?
Much is going to be dependent on where the boat docked. For example, if a boat docked in the Northern Colonies, I think that there were several components of colonial life that were distinct. Even in the early stages of the nation formation, cities were present. This concentration of population helped to bring about the idea of the Northern colonies being more densely populated. If a person landed in the Southern colonies, I think that the wide and vast space intrinsic to these areas would greet the visitor. Along those lines, the growth of slavery was something quite evident in the Southern portion of the nation, even in its earliest of days. The openness of space in the South in contrasted to the urbanized conditions of the North (urban for pre- Revolution times) would be the initial encounters of the individual docking into ports of either portion of the colonies.