Essays in Historical Criticism

Essays in Historical Criticism

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Essays in Historical Criticism

Essays in Historical Criticism

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Excerpt

The first essay in this collection, The Legend of Marcus Whitman, although bearing the same title as the article which I published in The American Historical Review last January, is substantially a new piece of work. In Part II the material contained in that article is reproduced and in addition the testimony of the sponsors of the story and of their supporters has been subjected to rigorous criticism, and the origin of some of its peculiar elements has been brought to light. The distinguishing feature, however, of the essay as published here is the full presentation of the literary history of the legend. It is my hope that this account of the genesis, diffusion, and wide acceptance in the latter half of the nineteenth century of a narrative about a momentous event in American history that is as unhistorical as the legend of the Donation of Constantine will prove to be a serviceable contribution to the literature of historical criticism.

The circumstances of the preparation or publication of these essays are indicated in the footnotes, except in the cases of the short paper on The Federalist Abroad, which formed part of an Introduction to a new edition of The Federalist in the Universal Classics, and of The Beginning of the Seminary Method in Teaching History which was con-

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