The Philosophy of American History: Periods in American History

The Philosophy of American History: Periods in American History

The Philosophy of American History: Periods in American History

The Philosophy of American History: Periods in American History

Excerpt

Both Buckle and Henry Adams were convinced that to develop the laws of historical movement, it would be necessary to study its phenomena in comparative freedom from extraneous influences. Perhaps it was pure coincidence, but the great English historian and his equally great American counterpart believed that the study of the development of their respective countries, to whose people and institutions they were profoundly attached, offered the ideal medium, because of their relative isolation, for the observation of tendencies essential to the elucidation of historical laws. Such arbitrary assumptions are, to us, unnecessary because every civilized people present an adequate field for the study of the social forces which produce the events history records.

This work develops directly the scientific principles of the Historical Field Theory from the analysis of the social forces in American history. As a corollary to the general theory there is presented a special theory-- the Theory of the Continuing American Revolution. This is the pivotal point around which over three hundred years of our history centers.

Should the scientific validity of the general and special theories be sustained, we will not only view the past in a different manner, but it will also make clear the nature of our contemporary problems. Thus, by casting a light ahead, we will understand more clearly the definite steps to be taken to attain a practical goal, while the nature of the goal itself will be delimited in distinguishable form. We have undertaken in the last chapter the ultimate test of the science of history, the prediction of the course of our national development for the next twenty years from the operation of the laws of motion as they must develop out of the given social structure.

It has been our aim throughout to establish the character of the temporal social structure by tracing the evolution of the social forces which produced the profound events of our history. Therefore it is not too much to say that American history in the ensemble is presented in a manner which is as new as, we feel confident, its theoretical basis is sound. The validity of the one must follow out of the truths established by the other. All subsequently discovered material facts must . . .

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