« AnteriorContinuar »
exploration and the biographies of heroes are left out. We frankly hold that, if pupils know little or nothing about Columbus, Cortes, Magellan, or Captain John Smith by the time they reach the high school, it is useless to tell the same stories for perhaps the fourth time. It is worse than useless. It is an offense against the teachers of those subjects that are demonstrated to be progressive in character.
In the next place we have omitted all descriptions of battles. Our reasons for this are simple. The strategy of a campaign or of a single battle is a highly technical, and usually a highly controversial, matter about which experts differ widely. In the field of military and naval operations most writers and teachers of history are mere novices. To dispose of Gettysburg or the Wilderness in ten lines or ten pages is equally absurd to the serious student of military affairs. Any one who compares the ordinary textbook account of a single Civil War campaign with the account given by Ropes, for instance, will ask for no further comment. No youth called upon to serve our country in arms would think of turning to a high school manual for information about the art of warfare. The dramatic scene or episode, so useful in arousing the interest of the immature pupil, seems out of place in a book that deliberately appeals to boys and girls on the very threshold of life's serious responsibilities.
It is not upon negative features, however, that we rest our case. It is rather upon constructive features.
First. We have written a topical, not a narrative, history. We have tried to set forth the important aspects, problems, and movements of each period, bringing in the narrative rather by way of illustration.
Second. We have emphasized those historical topics which help to explain how our nation has come to be what it is to-day.
Third. We have dwelt fully upon the social and economic aspects of our history, especially in relation to the politics of each period.
Fourth. We have treated the causes and results of wars, the problems of financing and sustaining armed forces, rather than military strategy. These are the subjects which belong to a history for civilians. These are matters which civilians can understand — matters which they must understand, if they are to play well their part in war and peace.
Fifth. By omitting the period of exploration, we have been able to enlarge the treatment of our own time. We have given special attention to the history of those current questions which must form the subject matter of sound instruction in citizenship.
Sixth. We have borne in mind that America, with all her unique characteristics, is a part of a general civilization. Accordingly we have given diplomacy, foreign affairs, world relations, and the reciprocal influences of nations their appropriate place.
Seventh. We have deliberately aimed at standards of maturity. The study of a mere narrative calls mainly for the use of the memory. We have aimed to stimulate habits of analysis, comparison, association, reflection, and generalization
- habits calculated to enlarge as well as inform the mind. We have been at great pains to make our text clear, simple, and direct; but we have earnestly sought to stretch the intellects of our readers — to put them upon their mettle. Most of them will receive the last of their formal instruction in the high school. The world will soon expect maturity from them. Their achievements will depend upon the possession of other powers than memory alone. The effectiveness of their citizenship in our republic will be measured by the excellence of their judgment as well as the fullness of their information.
C. A. B.
M. R. B. NEW YORK CITY,
February 8, 1921.
A SMALL LIBRARY IN AMERICAN HISTORY
BASSETT, J. S. A Short History of the United States
1. “EPOCHS OF AMERICAN HISTORY,” EDITED BY A. B. HART
HART, A. B. Formation of the Union
“ RIVERSIDE SERIES," EDITED BY W. E. DODD
BECKER, C. L. Beginnings of the American People
IX. THE JEFFERSONIAN REPUBLICANS IN POWER
Republican Principles and Policies
The Republicans and the Great West
The Republican War for Commercial Independence
The Republicans Nationalized
The National Decisions of Chief Justice Marshall
Summary of Union and National Politics
PART IV. THE WEST AND JACKSONIAN
X. THE FARMERS BEYOND THE APPALACHIANS
Preparation for Western Settlement
The Western Migration and New States
The Spirit of the Frontier
The West and the East Meet
XI. JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY
The Democratic Movement in the East
The New Democracy Enters the Arena .