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Association such as we now contemplate, papers may be frequently presented giving the results not only of good special work in history and biography, work requiring keen critical analysis, but of good work in the larger field requiring a philosophical synthesis. There ought certainly to be a section or sections in American history, general and local, and perhaps in other special fields; but there ought also to be a section or sections devoted to general history, the history of civilization, and the philosophy of history. Of course, such a section will have its dangers. Just as in the section devoted to special history there will be danger of pettiness and triviality, so in that devoted to general history there will be danger of looseness and vagueness—danger of attempts to approximate Hegel's shadowy results. But these difficulties in both fields the Association must meet as they arise. Certainly a confederation like this—of historical scholars from all parts of the country, stimulating each other to new activity—ought to elicit most valuable work in both fields and to contribute powerfully to the healthful development on the one hand of man as man, and on the other to the opening up of a better political and social future for the nation at large.
None can feel this more strongly than the little band of historical scholars who, scattered through various parts of the country, far from great libraries and separate from each other, have labored during the last quarter of a century to keep alive in this country the flame of philosophical investigation of history as a means for the greater enlightenment of their country and the better development of mankind.