|About the Book|
In offering to the public a new History of the United States,—for such the three volumes of the Epochs of American History, taken together, are designed to form,—the aim is not to assemble all the important facts, or to discuss all the importantMoreIn offering to the public a new History of the United States,—for such the three volumes of the Epochs of American History, taken together, are designed to form,—the aim is not to assemble all the important facts, or to discuss all the important questions that have arisen. There seems to be a place for a series of brief works which shall show the main causes for the foundation of the colonies, for the formation of the Union, and for the triumph of that Union over disintegrating tendencies. To make clear the development of ideas and institutions from epoch to epoch,—this is the aim of the authors and the editor.Detail has therefore been sacrificed to a more thorough treatment of the broad outlines: events are considered as evidences of tendencies and principles. Recognizing the fact that many readers will wish to go more carefully into narrative and social history, each chapter throughout the Series will be provided with a bibliography, intended to lead, first to the more common and easily accessible books, afterward, through the lists of bibliographies by other hands, to special works and monographs. The reader or teacher will find a select list of books in the Suggestions a few pages below.The historical geography of the United States has been a much-neglected subject. In this Series, therefore, both physical and political geography will receive special attention. I have prepared four maps for the first volume, and a like number will appear in each subsequent volume. Colonial grants were confused and uncertain- the principle adopted has been to accept the later interpretation of the grants by the English government as settling earlier questions.To my colleague, Professor Edward Channing, I beg to offer especial thanks for many generous suggestions, both as to the scope of the work and as to details.ALBERT BUSHNELL HART.Cambridge, December 1, 1890.AUTHORS PREFACE.Upon no epoch of American history has so much been written, from every point of view, as upon the Thirteen Colonies. There has, nevertheless, been lacking a book devoted especially to it, compact in form, yet sufficiently comprehensive in scope at once to serve as a text-book for class use and for general reading and reference. The present work is intended to meet that want.In this book American colonization is considered in the light of general colonization as a phase of history. Englishmen in planting colonies in America brought with them the institutions with which they had been familiar at home: it is shown what these institutions were, and how, in adapting themselves to new conditions of growth, they differed from English models. As prominent among the changed conditions, the physical geography of America and its aboriginal inhabitants receive somewhat extended treatment- and it is sought to explain the important effect these had upon the character of the settlers and the development of the country. The social and economic condition of the people is described, and attention is paid to the political characteristics of the several colonies both in the conduct of their local affairs and in their relations with each other and the mother-country. It is shown that the causes of the Revolution were deep-seated in colonial history. Attention is also called to the fact, generally overlooked, that the thirteen mainland colonies which revolted in 1776 were not all of the English colonial establishments in America.From Dr. Frederick J. Turner, of the University of Wisconsin, I have had much advice and assistance throughout the prosecution of the work- Dr. Edward Channing, of Harvard College, has kindly revised the proof-sheets and made many valuable suggestions- while Dr. Samuel A.