The March of Democracy

The March of Democracy

The March of Democracy

The March of Democracy

Excerpt

The history of America as contrasted with that of Europe is as yet brief but by no means simple. Beginning with conditions in the Old World which resulted in the discovery and peopling of the New, we have to trace the rise of thirteen distinct commonwealths, the formation of a new nation welded out of them, the hostile alignment of great sections in that nation, one of the greatest military struggles of modern times, and the emergence of a united country with the development of one of the greatest of modern democratic and industrial civilizations.

Both in the earlier and latest periods of our history, we have been entangled in the politics and wars of Europe. We have never really been isolated, and not only streams of immigrants but streams of cultural influence have steadily come to us from across the sea. These, as well as the political and military entanglements, require frequent digressions from our own domestic story to enable us to understand it by reference to European currents. Moreover, the simplicity of the older writing of history, dealing almost wholly with wars and politics, has long since passed. The story of how thirteen small agricultural dependencies became the Federal nation of today, independent, highly industrialized, with a culture and an outlook becoming daily more and more "American," is a story which must be woven of many strands, strands somewhat difficult to gather owing to the vastness of our territorial extent and the differences in our several sections.

In dealing with the United States in a single volume or two, one must to a great extent choose between a narrative of events and a philosophical interpretation. I have at various times and in different ways tried to do what I could to interpret both our past and present. But it is impossible either to interpret for ourselves or properly to appraise the interpretations of others, unless we have a clear understanding of the course of events in the past. Generalizing and philosophizing are delightful and fascinating tasks, but likely to be of . . .

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