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IN this book I have sought to tell clearly and impartially the story of human achievement in what is now the United States, from the earliest traces of man's existence to the present time. Out of the multitude of facts which may be considered within the domain of American history, those have been recounted which seem best suited to explain the progress of the people as a nation. The influence of physical environment has been discussed in the opening chapter, which also deals with the primitive inhabitants. An attempt has been made to give the colonial period its proper unity and show in what manner the colonies were a part of the general British scheme of imperial government. At the same time one must remember that it is American and not British history which concerns us, and for that reason the narrative must not neglect the individual colonies. From the end of the colonial period the dominant interest is the progress of events which have to do with the common cause of independence, and after that with national development.
Much thought has been given to the proper distribution of emphasis between the various historical factors. Political institutions are the most conscious expression of the national will. They termine the form of the story which the historian has to tell. But l and economic conditions and the actions of leading men give nd contour to the figure and decide whether it be attractive or ive, vivid or unimpressive. This volume contains at interries of the habits and social progress of the people, while seeks to present the decisions of congress and adminismatters which relate to the most important phases of It is believed that, if well done, it thus becomes in
a social history. My aim has been to lay the ⚫r those who wish to pursue further the subject
hatever phase they may be interested.
to discuss new historical eviith what has already been done
m the results
'cessary to greater m. It