The Struggle for the Border

The Struggle for the Border

The Struggle for the Border

The Struggle for the Border

Excerpt

An influential school of modern historians seems to hold that man's affairs are settled by ineluctable, impersonal, and calculable forces to which various convenient labels are given. That may be true. But human beings--uncertain, personal, and incalculable--also have something to do with the course of human events or, if not, we had better leave the future to the Communists, who have everything well arranged and taped up in advance.

This book has little to do with any theory of history but is concerned almost solely with individual men and their private adventures upon the North American earth, from John Smith, at Jamestown, to Dwight Eisenhower, at Washington; from Champlain, at Quebec, to St. Laurent, at Ottawa. If the book has any theory at all it is that, from time to time, at certain fluid moments, men, large and small, in wisdom, passion, or mere accident, made North America what it is, hardly suspecting the issue of their lives.

The historic, constitutional, and economic relationship of the two nations dividing between them most of North America has long been noted and much discussed by historians. Their excellent works on what might be called the rationale of the continent must now fill a vast library. This book is not intended to be an addition to that study, in such learned terms. It deals with people, many of them quite irrational. The writer's modest purpose will be served, therefore, if such a tale interests the reader in the past and future affairs of America, which, he believes, are greatly misunderstood and in urgent need of understanding.

The reader will see at once that, although this book is a joint account of Americans and Canadians in war and peace, in the contest of exploration, diplomacy and commerce, it is written from a Canadian standpoint, as must necessarily be so when the writer is a Canadian. In any case, this approach is deliberate. The writer believes that the American standpoint on the affairs of America has been amply set forth and that a Canadian viewpoint, often quite different, may be of interest--not because it is more valid but because it may set things in better proportion; for assuredly more . . .

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