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THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR
DAVID SAVILLE MUZZEY, PH.D.
GINN AND COMPANY
This book is intended primarily for college students. It aims at something beyond that mere chronicling of the facts of the past in fuller detail which often makes the "advanced” history text only the elementary book "writ large.” In other branches of study there is progression. The writer on calculus or mechanical engineering does not feel it incumbent upon him to restate and explain simple mathematical processes, like factoring or the extraction of cube root. He takes the knowledge of these things for granted. But historians are often content to repeat over and over again the same succession of names and dates, instead of attempting to interpret their meaning to maturing minds. This is what gives so many students the impression that history is a discipline of memory of past events, and the content of history a museum of wax figures in no vital relation to the society of today. Obviously, unless the historian can show that the men and institutions of the past have that inevitable parental relation to present social and political structures which the biologist, for example, traces in the development of physical life, history will continue to be remote, unreal, and unrelated.
As a succession of happenings the past, even the most recent past, is forever gone. It is as far beyond our reach as the moons of Jupiter. It is behind our back, too. The entire and increasing work of our life is the unceasing creation of a future with our present materials—as in the case of the traveler who lays the corduroy road ahead of him log by log. Because our present material is the heritage of the long past, that past has eternal significance in determining the direction of the road which we lay.
Such is the spirit in which this book has been written. Its subject is the development of the American ideal of democracy,
or self-government in freedom. Without overlooking or slighting the economic factors in that development, the author has avoided the temptation to give them the overemphasis which is rather the fashion today. Our age is confessedly an age of material exploitation. But the things in which people are most absorbed for the moment (and generations are but moments for the historian) are by no means necessarily the most important things for a people. If the pendulum of interest has swung so far to the economic side that it is considered more “up-to-date.” to dwell on the origins of the oil industry than on the origins of the Jeffersonian Democracy, or to tabulate the rise and fall of our exports and imports more carefully than the rise and fall of the spirit of civic responsibility, it is an imperative duty of the historian to redress the balance. Our destiny is not the making of money, but the making of America. Our heritage of political ideals is a far richer possession than our heritage of material resources; for if the ideals be lost or obscured, all the treasures of field, factory, and mine cannot avail to save us from the fate of Nineveh or Rome. Service to the student has been the author's sole preoccupation in the preparation of this book. Experts in American history will detect on every page indebtedness to former laborers in the field, and will, it is hoped, discover a faithful adherence. to reliable sources. If quotation marks abound, it is because the author has wished to let the actors themselves tell a large part of the story in their own words.
DAVID SAVILLE MUZZEY Columb|A UNIVERSITY, New York