American History Told by Contemporaries - Vol. 3

American History Told by Contemporaries - Vol. 3

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American History Told by Contemporaries - Vol. 3

American History Told by Contemporaries - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

When the series of which this is the third volume was begun, three years ago, the editor thought it necessary to explain and define the method of which it is a type. In that brief space of time, however, people have become more accustomed to the use of original historical materials, and there is no novelty in the suggestion that American history may be read in the works of its makers. As in the previous volumes, the double task is attempted of giving characteristic extracts from the best-qualified contemporaries, and of weaving those extracts together so as to make a consistent and truthful whole.

The principles adopted in selecting and transcribing material are those which I believe best calculated to inculcate accuracy, fidelity, and judgment. I have in all cases sought the earliest authoritative text of each piece; it has been transcribed as the writers themselves saw it in manuscript or in print; no liberties have been taken with spelling, capitals, or paragraphing. Doubtless the sense would remain the same if the text had been modernized, but it seems worth while to give an object lesson in the faithful reproduction of texts just as one finds them.

The good writers in the period covered by this volume are very numerous, and it has been a painful task to throw out much instructive and interesting first-hand material which had been selected. As in the previous volumes, constitutional documents have been avoided, both because they are not self-explanatory and because good collections of them fortunately now abound; diaries, travels, autobiographies, letters, and speeches have been preferred as being more real and more human.

In the choice of material I have tried to illustrate social and political conditions, even at the expense of leaving out many important and indispensable incidents. Our historians in general deal less with "the . . .

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