IN MARCH 1883, D. Appleton & Co. published the first volume of what was going to be yet another multivolume history of the United States. Many were surprised. Surely the great histories of Bancroft and Hildreth had covered the ground already! To the extent they had failed to do so, specific histories of certain periods or institutions could be justified. But why begin another mammoth survey of a country that, after all, as the date 1883 signalized, was but one hundred years old in its recognized independence?
Besides, who was this John Bach McMaster? Bancroft had written from a firm center among New England literary giants such as Emerson, Longfellow, and Hawthorne, and he had brought to his work national political experience. Hildreth had written from the center of high Federalism, and he had brought to his