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Title: A Brief History of the United States
Author: Barnes & Co.
Release Date: September, 2004 [EBook #6434]
[This file was first posted on December 13, 2002]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE U.S. ***
[Illustration: GEORGE WASHINGTON AND HISTORICAL SCENES]
BARNES'S ONE-TERM HISTORY.
The experience of all teachers testifies to the lamentable
deficiency in historical knowledge among their pupils; not that
children dislike the incidents and events of history, for, indeed,
they prefer them to the improbable tales which now form the bulk of
their reading, but because the books are "dry." Those which are
interesting are apt to be lengthy, and the mind consequently
becomes confused by the multitude of details, while the brief ones
often contain merely the dry bones of fact, uninviting and unreal.
An attractive book which can be mastered in a single term, is the
necessity of our schools. The present work is an attempt to meet
this want in American histories. In its preparation there has been
an endeavor to develop the following principles:
1. To precede each Epoch by questions and a map, so that the pupil
may become familiar with the location of the places named in the
history he is about to study.
2. To select only the most important events for the body of the
text, and then, by foot-notes, to give explanations, illustrations,
minor events, anecdotes, &c.
3. To classify the events under general topics, which are given in
distinct type at the beginning of each paragraph; thus impressing
the leading idea on the mind of the pupil, enabling him to see at a
glance the prominent points of the lesson, and especially adapting
the book to that large and constantly increasing class of teachers,
who require topical recitations.
4. To select, in the description of each battle, some
characteristic in which it differs from all other battles--its
key-note, by which it can be recollected; thus not only preventing
a sameness, but giving to the pupil a point around which he may
group information obtained from fuller descriptions and larger
5. To give only leading dates, and, as far as possible, to
associate them with each other, and thus assist the memory in their
permanent retention; experience having proved the committing of
many dates to be the most barren and profitless of all school
6. To give each campaign as a whole, rather than to mingle several by presenting the events in chronological order. Whenever, by the operations of one army being dependent on those of another, this plan might fail to show the inter-relation of events, to prevent such a result by so arranging the campaigns that the supporting
7. To give something of the philosophy of history, the causes and
effects of events, and, in the case of great battles, the objects
sought to be attained; thus leading pupils to a thoughtful study of
history, and to an appreciation of the fact that events hinge upon
8. To insert, in foot-notes, sketches of the more important
personages, especially the Presidents, and thereby enable the
student to form some estimate of their characters.
9. To use language, a clause or sentence of which cannot be
selected or committed as an answer to a question, but such as,
giving the idea vividly, will yet compel the pupil to express it in
his own words.
10. To assign to each Epoch its fair proportion of space; not
expanding the earlier ones at the expense of the later; but giving
due prominence to the events nearer our own time, especially to the
12. To give the new States the attention due to their importance by
devoting space to each one as it is admitted into the Union, and
becomes a feature in the grand national development.
13. To lead to a more independent use of the book, and the adoption of the topical mode of recitation and study, as far as possible, by placing the questions at the close of the work, rather than at the bottom of each page.
14. To furnish, under the title of Historical Recreations, a set of review questions which may serve to awaken an interest in the class and induce a more comprehensive study of the book.
Finally--this work is offered to American youth in the confident
belief that as they study the wonderful history of their native
land, they will learn to prize their birthright more highly, and
treasure it more carefully. Their patriotism must be kindled when
they come to see how slowly, yet how gloriously, this tree of
liberty has grown, what storms have wrenched its boughs, what sweat
of toil and blood has moistened its roots, what eager eyes have
watched every out-springing bud, what brave hearts have defended
it, loving it even unto death. A heritage thus sanctified by the
heroism and devotion of the fathers can but elicit the choicest
care and tenderest love of the sons.
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