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A DOZEN years ago I wrote a school history of the United States, and the test of its use has shown me wherein it was defective. My own study of history during the same period has furthermore enabled me to see how I could improve my original presentation of the subject. The present book is the result. The general structure remains the same as before; there is the same cleavage of periods, and the same interpretation of cause and effect in the development of the Union. But the emphasis is somewhat differently placed, and a much greater attention has been paid to that element of personality which gives vitality to all history. By biographic detail and a liberal use of portraits I have sought to interest the student in the men who have been the architects of the nation.
When I introduced my first book I said: “The secret of success in any history must lie in the power of the author to conceive the development of life, and to discover the critical passages, the transition periods, the great epochs. I hope I have helped young people to understand the movements which I see from the time when America was first disclosed to the eyes of Europe down to the present day. I wish to emphasize my sense of the importance to American children of connecting the history of their country with the changes which have been taking place in Europe during the period of our growth changes of the utmost consequence in the development of our own national life, an understanding of which is essential to an intelligent reading of American history. Therefore I have never lost sight of the fact that down to the close of the last war with England, America faced the Atlantic; and any one