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ushistory

ushistory

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Published by: lnadai on Jun 09, 2008
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of History of the United Statesby Charles A. Beard and Mary R. BeardThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: History of the United StatesAuthor: Charles A. Beard and Mary R. BeardRelease Date: October 28, 2005 [EBook #16960]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES***Produced by Curtis Weyant, M and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.netHISTORYOF THEUNITED STATESBYCHARLES A. BEARDANDMARY R. BEARDNew YorkTHE MACMILLAN COMPANY1921 _All rights reserved_COPYRIGHT, 1921,
 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1921.Norwood PressJ.S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.NORWOOD, MASS., U.S.A.PREFACEAs things now stand, the course of instruction in American history inour public schools embraces three distinct treatments of the subject.Three separate books are used. First, there is the primary book, whichis usually a very condensed narrative with emphasis on biographies andanecdotes. Second, there is the advanced text for the seventh or eighthgrade, generally speaking, an expansion of the elementary book by theaddition of forty or fifty thousand words. Finally, there is the highschool manual. This, too, ordinarily follows the beaten path, givingfuller accounts of the same events and characters. To put it bluntly, wedo not assume that our children obtain permanent possessions from theirstudy of history in the lower grades. If mathematicians followed thesame method, high school texts on algebra and geometry would include themultiplication table and fractions.There is, of course, a ready answer to the criticism advanced above. Itis that teachers have learned from bitter experience how little historytheir pupils retain as they pass along the regular route. No teacher ofhistory will deny this. Still it is a standing challenge to existingmethods of historical instruction. If the study of history cannot bemade truly progressive like the study of mathematics, science, andlanguages, then the historians assume a grave responsibility in addingtheir subject to the already overloaded curriculum. If the successivehistorical texts are only enlarged editions of the first text--morefacts, more dates, more words--then history deserves most of the sharpcriticism which it is receiving from teachers of science, civics, andeconomics.In this condition of affairs we find our justification for offering anew high school text in American history. Our first contribution is oneof omission. The time-honored stories of exploration and thebiographies of heroes are left out. We frankly hold that, if pupils knowlittle or nothing about Columbus, Cortes, Magellan, or Captain JohnSmith by the time they reach the high school, it is useless to tell thesame stories for perhaps the fourth time. It is worse than useless. Itis an offense against the teachers of those subjects that aredemonstrated to be progressive in character.In the next place we have omitted all descriptions of battles. Ourreasons for this are simple. The strategy of a campaign or of a singlebattle is a highly technical, and usually a highly controversial, matter
 
about which experts differ widely. In the field of military and navaloperations most writers and teachers of history are mere novices. Todispose of Gettysburg or the Wilderness in ten lines or ten pages isequally absurd to the serious student of military affairs. Any one whocompares the ordinary textbook account of a single Civil War campaignwith the account given by Ropes, for instance, will ask for no furthercomment. No youth called upon to serve our country in arms would thinkof turning to a high school manual for information about the art ofwarfare. The dramatic scene or episode, so useful in arousing theinterest of the immature pupil, seems out of place in a book thatdeliberately appeals to boys and girls on the very threshold of life'sserious responsibilities.It is not upon negative features, however, that we rest our case. It israther upon constructive features. _First._ We have written a topical, not a narrative, history. We havetried to set forth the important aspects, problems, and movements ofeach period, bringing in the narrative rather by way of illustration. _Second._ We have emphasized those historical topics which help toexplain how our nation has come to be what it is to-day. _Third._ We have dwelt fully upon the social and economic aspects of ourhistory, especially in relation to the politics of each period. _Fourth._ We have treated the causes and results of wars, the problemsof financing and sustaining armed forces, rather than military strategy.These are the subjects which belong to a history for civilians. Theseare matters which civilians can understand--matters which they mustunderstand, if they are to play well their part in war and peace. _Fifth._ By omitting the period of exploration, we have been able toenlarge the treatment of our own time. We have given special attentionto the history of those current questions which must form the subjectmatter of sound instruction in citizenship. _Sixth._ We have borne in mind that America, with all her uniquecharacteristics, is a part of a general civilization. Accordingly wehave given diplomacy, foreign affairs, world relations, and thereciprocal influences of nations their appropriate place. _Seventh._ We have deliberately aimed at standards of maturity. Thestudy of a mere narrative calls mainly for the use of the memory. Wehave aimed to stimulate habits of analysis, comparison, association,reflection, and generalization--habits calculated to enlarge as well asinform the mind. We have been at great pains to make our text clear,simple, and direct; but we have earnestly sought to stretch theintellects of our readers--to put them upon their mettle. Most of themwill receive the last of their formal instruction in the high school.The world will soon expect maturity from them. Their achievements willdepend upon the possession of other powers than memory alone. Theeffectiveness of their citizenship in our republic will be measured bythe excellence of their judgment as well as the fullness of theirinformation.C.A.B.M.R.B.NEW YORK CITY,February 8, 1921.

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