British Essays in American History

British Essays in American History

British Essays in American History

British Essays in American History

Excerpt

The original purpose of this book was simple. We thought that a collection of essays on some of the stimulating and significant themes of American history would be of interest and value to British readers. But when we reflected further it seemed to us that such a volume might also find a place on the other side of the Atlantic. Now that it is written we believe that it may fulfil both these purposes.

It is not intended to be in any sense a comprehensive history of the United States; there are many of these. Rather does it embody our belief that the study of American history in Britain has reached a stage at which seventeen British scholars may have a number of things to say which will be interesting, not only to students and general readers but even to professional historians. The essays are not learned articles, nor are they necessarily based upon new documentary work; yet each of them falls within a primary field of interest of its contributor, and many do contain original research. We were not able, nor did we wish, arbitrarily to choose a list of topics, and then to impose them on a team of contributors. Instead we have tried to select subjects upon which our historians were best able to write. We think that these essays will prove of real value to students of American history everywhere; and we hope that they will help to encourage its development in Britain.

The idea of the book was born towards the end of 1966, and it therefore seemed fitting and proper to try and complete it in time for publication during the spring of 1957, on the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the foundation of the first permanent British settlement in America, at Jamestown, Virginia. Through the enthusiastic co-operation of contributors, publishers, and printers this has now proved possible.

H. C. A. C. P. H.

Bristol, October 1956.

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