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This volume is an attempt to put the vital facts of American history in readable form. Special effort has been made to give the relation of the economic and social to the political factors. The place and effect of western development are emphasized beyond what is usual in such texts, and soil and vegetation factors are given what is believed to be their merited place in our national story.
In order that many individuals should not remain “mere names,” the Appendix carries a series of biographical sketches giv
" ' ing supplementary information concerning the more prominent persons mentioned in these pages. Of those of first rank additional information will, of course, be sought in the usual channels.
“Query and Discussion” topics as well as “Reading Lists” accompany the respective sections of the book. Among the popular, in distinction from the scientific, books mentioned, place is given to the Chronicles of America (Yale University Press). Never before has our history been so simply and interestingly presented in expanded form by writers of scholarly rank. For map study Harper's Atlas of American History has been cited as one of the most convenient compilations of its kind; its authoritative maps (from the American Nation Series) are very serviceable, especially as interpreted by Dixon Ryan Fox's Map Studies. The book is cited, as “Fox, Map Studies."
In view of the fact that the text, especially after 1789, treats American history topically, a "Table of the Presidencies" has been included in the Appendix; there, in chronological order, will be found listed the chief events of each presidential administration. Also, the Appendix carries the documents with which
every student should become familiar, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Among the numerous friends who have assisted and encouraged the writer, my colleague, Professor William C. Binkley, has kindly read the page proofs, but must be held blameless for errors which may still exist. For assistance in framing the “Discussion Topics" the writer is indebted to Miss Ernestine Parsons of the Colorado Springs High School. Another and a greater debt must not go unexpressed. To the trustees of Marietta College the writer is heavily obligated; but for their liberality in allowing time for study and research, covering a period of many years, this volume, although not contemplated at the time, could never have been written.
May I add, in conclusion, that this book has been written by an optimist-by a sincere disbeliever in the theory that "the evil men do lives after them.” Our story presents a long line of individuals-half a thousand—who have played some part in this drama of republic building. Among these are splendid heroes and heroines, with here and there an impractical dreamer, a trickster, or a rogue. The writer's vision has been fixed on the good that men have done, the constructive dreams they have dreamed, the struggles they have endured on battlefields, on farms, in mines or mills, in halls of legislature, in schools, stores, and pulpits, at the bar or in editorial offices, to make our Republic great. Attention has been directed to “the evil men have done" only when a knowledge of that evil, or evil effort, is essential to a correct historical perspective. I arise from the reading of any sincere effort to present our national story with a sense of victory, a thrill of conquest; the iron in the blood of the men and women of old enters into mine and I partake of their earnestness, patriotism, and devotion. And then there comes that best gift which the study of the history of one's country can bring, faith and confidence in the good men and women of To-day and the long line of good men and women of To-morrow!
The tasks of to-day and to-morrow are no harder to master than were those of yesterday; the evils of to-day will be overcome as were those of other years. I find no page of our history which would not show, on minute examination, its proportion of folk who praised the great men of the past but found little of comfort in their “To-day" and expressed much foreboding of “To-morrow.” Here, at least, history has never once failed to “repeat itself!” Marco Polo in China, in the thirteenth century, was told that there were “honest” Celestial politicians—“a hundred years ago!" ”