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The aim of this little book is to trace the steps by which the American people and its peculiar type of federal state have developed out of such heterogeneous and unpromising materials for nation-building as were to be found in the English-American Colonies in 1760. Less attention has been given to campaigns and battles than is usual in works of this class, and the space thus gained has been devoted to the elucidation of the deeper causes underlying the American Revolution, and to a detailed account of the period between the close of the Revolutionary War and the inauguration of President Madison.
The Bibliographical Note at the end of the volume is intended to be of service to those who desire to make a further study of American History, and not necessarily to indicate the sources of information on which the text is founded. The first six chapters are in fact based on the author's own reading of the original sources. For Chapter VI, however, considerable assistance was derived from Henry Adams's History of the United States (1800—1817), and the first part of Chapter VII was drawn mainly from that masterly work. For the remaining portion of Chapter VII, and for Chapter VIII, the biographies and collected writings and speeches of the leading men of that time were perused. Chapter IX is founded mainly on James Ford Rhodes's two volumes on the period from 1850—1860. The author has also read the more important biographies and collections of speeches dealing with that epoch; but his prin
cipal reliance was on Mr. Rhodes's excellent work. It is to be regretted that the present book was in type before the publication of Mr. Rhodes's third volume, covering the critical years 1860—1862. For Chapter X the official records and the comprehensive works have been used -- especially Colonel Dodge's stimulating Bird's-Eye View of the Civil War. John C. Ropes's careful study of the early campaigns (The Story of the Civil War, Vol. I) was published too late to be of assistance in the preparation of this account. Mr. Ropes, however, has kindly read the proofs of this chapter —a service Dr. Justin Winsor graciously performed for the earlier chapters. For their many valuable suggestions the author's thanks are due, as they are also to Professor Prothero, who has laid him under deep obligation. Above all he desires to express his sense of the kindness of his friend and colleague Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, who has read the proofs of the entire work. Perhaps it is needless to add that none of these authors and kind friends is to be held in any way responsible for any errors, whether of fact or of opinion, which may be found within these covers.
The maps were compiled by the author to illustrate this volume, and it is hoped that they will be found useful. It is practically impossible to be absolutely accurate in a work of this size, covering such an extended period and dealing with so many disputed events. It is sometimes impossible for an American to appreciate the motives of his “kin beyond sea ; and it is not always easy for him to do justice to his own countrymen. The utmost that an historical student can do is to study and write without malice in his heart — and this the present writer can fairly claim to have done. He will cordially welcome the discovery and communication of any error.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.