« PreviousContinue »
WILLIS MASON WEST
SOMETIME PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AND HEAD OF THE
ALLYN AND BACON
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
AUG 6 1936
COPYRIGHT, 1918 AND 1922
THIS book is for high-school use. It is based in a measure upon my American History and Government, but it is a new work, not a revision. The story is simpler, and, I hope, more graphic. Much less space is given to political features, and much more to the industrial and social life of the people. And the Great War compels a new perspective for all recent history.
Four features are emphasized more than is common in books of this class: (1) the historical grounds for friendship between America and England, in spite of old sins and misunderstandings; (2) the meaning of the West in American history; (3) the heroic labor movement of 1825-1840, usually ignored; and (4) the long conflict between intrenched "privilege" and the "progressive" forces in State and Nation.
I have tried also to correct the common delusion which looks back for a golden age-to Jefferson or John Winthrop and to show instead that the democracy of to-day, imperfect as it is, is more complete than that of our earlier periods. Throughout I have not hesitated to portray the weaknesses, blunders, and sins of democracy. My own faith is strong that the cure for those ills is to be found in more democracy. I should care little to write upon American history did I not believe that a fair presentation must strengthen that faith in generous-minded youth.
The volume closes with a war chapter, which necessarily is exceedingly imperfect. Mighty changes impend, and war clouds obscure them. But among those facts that stay our hope for America there towers one shining truth. The call to arms of last April met its most prompt and splendid response
from the students and recent graduates of our high schools. These schools have been much criticized, perhaps with some reason, for failing to fit for business or for industrial life; but they have now justified themselves gloriously. Even more than any admirer had claimed, they have proved that they have given to American youth a true sense of world values, a fine, robust idealism, and a nobly quiet readiness to live or die for those ideals, to do their bit for world-righteousness. To the youth so trained in those schools, and now embattled in the mighty conflict "to save democracy," I humbly dedicate this book.
WILLIS MASON WEST.
The present reprint of this book contains changes and additions bringing it down to date.
W. M. W.
LIST OF MAPS AND PLANS