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THE time has come for the reconsideration of the history of the United States. The moral revolution which our recent struggle has developed indicates the existence of profounder principles and a loftier purpose in the origin, structure, and development of the Great Republic, than any heretofore distinctly recognized by historical writers. American history, within the last few years, has brought out vices so deep and threatening, has shown in collision forces so formidable and terrific, and has revealed a moral grandeur so far above the precedents of modern civilization, that there is reason to believe the wisest men of our times will be compelled to reconstruct their theories of government and of the powers and destiny of man.

The stand-point which reveals distinctly the force by which the improbabilities of our progress have been achieved must be more commanding than any which has heretofore only shown to the world an energetic people struggling for ascendency among the nations of the earth. If we are to obtain a view of the real contents of our historical globe, it must certainly be by a clearer light and a more searching examination than any which have thus far revealed only its outer crust.

I am aware that I thus present the problems of American and also of general history in a way to make any attempt to solve them appear formidable and ambitious. It may well be supposed that the writer would enter upon a task of such difficulty and magnitude with timid shrinking and very humble anticipations. His only explanation is, that the theory of moral and political as well as physical phenomena, if true, when once clearly defined, is very simple. If, from the fragmentary or elaborate teachings of clear minds and able pens along the line of narrative or philosophical history, or from the revelations of the Holy Bible and the Divine Providence, or by a candid, thorough, prayerful scrutiny of the events of his times, he has been able to identify and clearly express the true and only principle which can adequately explain the facts of our remarkable career, then he, or any man of good common under

standing, may search and think and write profitably, though by no means exhaustively, in the use of that principle.

Let it therefore be stated, that the theory of this book is, that God is the rightful, actual Sovereign of all nations; that a purpose to advance the human race beyond all its precedents in intelligence, goodness, and power, formed this Great Republic; and that religion is the only lifeforce and organizing power of liberty. If this is true, then all writers. of American history must rise to this point of observation, or fail.

It may be stated, without ostentation, that the writer has been, for at least a quarter of a century, a careful student of his country's history; this, however, without a thought of attempting any of the functions of an historian. But gradually the principles recognized in this book assumed distinctness and organic form in his views and convictions. In their light, he entered, with all his powers of mind and heart, into the spirit of the late war, on the freedom side, and waited, with perfect composure and without a doubt, for the final result.

When the war closed, he felt, and frequently said, that a new book of America must be written. He watched for its announcement, but failed to see it. He was at length surprised to find himself urged to undertake the task; and, after much hesitancy and delay, he came to feel that it was his imperative duty to commence, and leave the event with God.

Incapable, as he trusts, of the absurdity of any pretensions to originality in discovering either principles or methods of the divine government, or of having in any sense superseded the labors of other men, he simply claims to have made, with perfect candor and some thoroughness, his humble contribution to what must be admitted to be a very important, if not in some sense a newly-defined, method of American history.

He now commits his work to the candid consideration of his readers and to the direction of Providence. If the devout recognition of God in the character, purposes, and history of this country and government shall be increased, and the loyalty of the American people to the great Sovereign of nations in any degree strengthened, the object of the author will be accomplished.

ALBANY, September, 1867.



THE Republic is here presented in five periods. The Period of Preparation extends from the discovery of America to the well-defined mind-battles which introduce the War of the Revolution. It will be illustrated by the likeness of Columbus, as the great representative of the spirit of enterprise which manifested itself in discovery and colonization.

The Period of Independence extends through the Revolutionary War to the adoption of the Constitution and the inauguration of the first President. As the only possible suggestion of history upon the subject, the likeness of Washington introduces this discussion.

The Period of Development includes the unprecedented growth of the country up to the time of our Great Civil War. This, let it be observed, is the growth of liberty and of good government under the control of Christianity, the enlightening, liberalizing power which has conserved and developed our free institutions, and goes largely to account for our material prosperity. Seeking for some one man whose character, labors, and influence represent the largest, most pervading power of religion over the masses, and whose methods of evangelism have wrought most potentially in purifying and elevating our voting freemen, I have been pointed, by an inevitable historical necessity, to Francis Asbury. A superb likeness of this grand pioneer Christian hero will therefore be found as the introduction to the Third Period.

The Period of Emancipation includes the great contest of liberty with the slave-power, and means, not the liberation of slaves alone, but of the nation. In the Period of Preparation, I speak of African slavery; but, in the Fourth Period, of American slavery and the emancipation of the Republic. Abraham Lincoln takes his true historical position here.

In the Fifth Period, we glance at our country's future; and we stand before it with astonishment and awe, overwhelmed by the visions of greatness which rise up before us. No man could fitly represent this coming grandeur. We give you a likeness; but we mean by it express

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