Norfolk: Historic Southern Port

Norfolk: Historic Southern Port

Norfolk: Historic Southern Port

Norfolk: Historic Southern Port

Excerpt

If we are to understand the history of any city, not only must we trace its origin and its development, but we must explain the causes which brought about its origin, and affected favorably or adversely its development. The history of Norfolk is much more than a series of anecdotes of interesting events and interesting people; it is an important chapter in the story of the rise of the American nation. Norfolk's part in the early tobacco trade, in the West India trade, in the Revolutionary War, in the creation of the Constitution, in the difficulties with England and France during the Napoleonic wars, in the War of 1812, in the era of internal improvements, in the Civil War, and in the World War is too important to be neglected.

American investigators have been slow to recognize the fact that national history is founded on local history, and so have left local history largely to the antiquarian and the genealogist. There are hundreds of volumes devoted to the history of this city or that county, which are moulding unnoticed on the library shelves, because they are devoted exclusively to unimportant details of local life. Although historians are becoming conscious of their neglect in this matter, the local history which shows the relationship of the community with state and national history is still comparatively rare.

In this volume the emphasis is placed on the first two centuries of Norfolk's history. Although the period from 1880 to 1930 has been treated in outline, no attempt has been made to give in detail the political, social, and industrial development. The lack of historical perspective, the difficulty of securing private letters and documents, and the impropriety of writing critically of living persons, make contemporary history exceedingly difficult. So the concluding chapters have been inserted more as a sequel to the main body of the story, than as an integral part of the history itself.

The author extends his thanks to Mr. Robert B. Tunstall, who has sponsored the work from the first, and rendered invaluable assistance; to Mr. Louis I. Jaffé and Mr. John B. Jenkins, Jr., who, together with . . .

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