The Granite State of the United States: A History of New Hampshire from 1623 to the Present - Vol. 1

The Granite State of the United States: A History of New Hampshire from 1623 to the Present - Vol. 1

The Granite State of the United States: A History of New Hampshire from 1623 to the Present - Vol. 1

The Granite State of the United States: A History of New Hampshire from 1623 to the Present - Vol. 1

Excerpt

"A true understanding of our national history is impossible without a better knowledge of the State and local record than we have hitherto possessed." So wrote the distinguished historian, Allan Nevins, some years ago, and his words are as valid now as then. For this reason alone a new history of New Hampshire would be a worthwhile project. But, in addition to such a generalization, there are other and more specific justifying considerations.

To begin with, the history of an old State like New Hampshire offers a unique opportunity for a better understanding of ourselves today as Americans. So vast is the stage upon which the affairs of the United States are now being played that many citizens are confused by superficial trends. What are the distinctive economic traditions, political institutions, morals, culture, and manners which properly go by the name, "American"? In the immense complexity of modern nationalism, it is helpful to remember that every one of these basic aspects of our heritage can most easily be understood by a study of their rootage. Since New Hampshire is one of the original thirteen States, its past is especially meaningful in the effort to interpret the contemporary nation. New Hampshire is a commonwealth whose English origins date back to 1623. Its colonial developments, like its part in the life of the American people after 1776, throw a flood of light on our national beginnings and on our growth over the past three centuries.

Secondly, New Hampshire is a small State, only about ten thousand square miles in area. Louis Agassiz, a noted scientist of the last century, once remarked that from a small amount of water a thoughtful student could infer the existence of the mighty ocean. So with the history of the Granite State. Small as it is in physical size, population, and in urban development, it is nevertheless a microcosm of the huge nation of which it is a part. Its developments have never been peripheral or irrelevant to the main stream of American life. New Hampshire's most noted son, Daniel Webster, in paying tribute to Dartmouth College, his Alma Mater, stressed the importance of smallness for adequate understanding and appreciation of the chief values of life. His tribute could justly be widened to include the entire State.

As an extension of this thought, it may be remarked that New Hampshire is a uniquely typical State among the forty-eight. For example, its economy . . .

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