The United States of America

The United States of America

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The United States of America

The United States of America

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This book is intended primarily for college students. It aims at something beyond that mere chronicling of the facts of the past in fuller detail which often makes the "advanced" history text only the elementary book "writ large." In other branches of study there is progression. The writer on calculus or mechanical engineering does not feel it incumbent upon him to restate and explain simple mathematical processes, like factoring or the extraction of cube root. He takes the knowledge of these things for granted. But historians are often content to repeat over and over again the same succession of names and dates, instead of attempting to interpret their meaning to maturing minds. This is what gives so many students the impression that history is a discipline of memory of past events, and the content of history a museum of wax figures in no vital relation to the society of today. Obviously, unless the historian can show that the men and institutions of the past have that inevitable parental relation to present social and political structures which the biologist, for example, traces in the development of physical life, history will continue to be remote, unreal, and unrelated.

As a succession of happenings the past, even the most recent past, is forever gone. It is as far beyond our reach as the moons of Jupiter. It is behind our back, too. The entire and increasing work of our life is the unceasing creation of a future with our present materials--as in the case of the traveler who lays the corduroy road ahead of him log by log. Because our present material is the heritage of the long past, that past has eternal significance in determining the direction of the road which we lay.

Such is the spirit in which this book has been written. Its subject is the development of the American ideal of democracy . . .

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