THE GREAT ILLUSION
THE only excuse for this chapter is that it was once used as a lecture to British officers whose knowledge of American History was limited; we knew that Columbus discovered the New World and that George Washington had an axe; he cut down a cherry tree and severed connexion with the Mother Country; after that there were incidents painful to British observers, but, like Nelson, we know when to apply the telescope to our blind eye, so there comes a hiatus in the history of America. Interest is awakened once again by the Civil War.
There are plenty of histories to fill up the gap, but for the military student, who is more concerned with strategy than political development, the following notes may serve as an overture to the war.
Superior persons, who know by heart the list of American presidents as English schoolboys know their list of kings and queens, may be advised to skip to the next chapter.
The Constitution. In the last half of the seventeenth century the adventurers of the New World were taking root as colonists. In the first half of the succeeding century we find the Atlantic coast dotted with prosperous settlements of Anglo-Saxon blood (except Rip Van Winkle), while the French had pushed southwards from Canada and struck the Mississippi. Sturdy pioneers, hunters, and trappers were spreading inland over the Alleghanies and were driving the Red Indians westwards.
During the first half of the eighteenth century the