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INTRODUCTION Why should a new School History of the United States be written? Chiefly in order to put at the disposition of the upper grades a book embodying a broadly national point of view and presenting adequate treatment of certain topics which hitherto have been too little stressed in the study of American history.
(1) The European background of our history is clearly sketched, with due recognition of our inheritance of language, law, and political methods from England. Due attention is also paid to other influences from overseas.
(2) Great pains have been taken to treat adequately the various sections of the country, which differ somewhat from one another. Hence there are special chapters on the West, the far West, and the new South, as well as a brief but clear account of the thirteen English colonies and of the distribution of American territory among the colonizing nations.
(3) Another important feature is the fullness of treatment of the social and industrial conditions of the colonies and the later United States, for which twelve of the thirty-seven chapters are set apart.
(4) Wars are treated as intense experiences of the American people; the aim is not merely to give the causes and results, but also to show how the problems of raising armies and carrying on the struggles have been solved, and what was the effect on the life of the community. Military and naval movements are subordinated.
(5) A special effort is made to bring home to the minds of children the way in which our government is carried on. The book includes not only brief accounts of elections and political events, but also simple descriptions of important parts of the machinery of government, such as the Federal Convention, national banks, and the tariff.
(6) As one of the main purposes of history is to bring boys and girls to understand such political questions as they themselves are likely to confront, about a third of the book is devoted to the period since the Civil War; the effort has been made so to simplify the questions of currency, banking, transportation, and business combinations, as to make them understood by school children as a part of the problems of their own national and state governments.
ALBERT BUSHNELL HART