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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
HENRY WILLIAM ELSON, Ph.D., LITT.D.
AUTHOR OF “SIDE LIGHTS ON AMERICAN HISTORY," ETC.
All rights reserved
Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1904. Reprinted
For many years I have contemplated writing a history of the United States in a single volume, that should fall between the elaborate works, which are beyond the reach of most busy people, and the condensed school histories, which are emasculated of all literary style through the necessity of crowding so many facts into small space.
In writing this history my aim has been to present an accurate narrative of the origin and growth of our country and its institutions in such a form as to interest the general reader. I have constantly borne in mind the great importance of combining the science of historical research with the art of historical composition. I have aimed also, especially when treating the national period, to balance the narrative and critical features in intelligent proportion. A mere recital of facts, without historic criticism, without reference to the undercurrents that move society, is no longer acceptable in this age of thinking readers.
I have endeavored to write, as stated, for the general reader, but not with a patronizing form of expression, as if addressed to the uneducated, or to children, nor with a burden of worthless incident and detail, nor yet with any effort to please those who delight only in the spectacular. At the same time, knowing that many intelligent people who wish to know something of their country are not fond of reading history, I have given careful attention to style, in the hope that the book might be easy and pleasurable to read, as well as instructive.
I have devoted much space to the life of the people, - their habits, modes of life, occupations, general progress, and the like, especially in the earlier period when they differed most widely from ourselves. But in treating the national period I have, how.