Notwithstanding the number of United States histories already in existence, and the excellence of many of them, I venture to think that no apology is needed for bringing forward another.
1. The work now presented to the public is believed to utilize, more than any of its predecessors, the many valuable researches of recent years into the rich archives of this and other nations.
2. Most of the briefer treatments of the subject are manuals, intended for pupils in schools, the conspicuous articulation so necessary for this purpose greatly lessening their interest for the general reader. The following narrative will be found continuous as well as of moderate compass.
3. I have sought to make more prominent than popular histories have usually done, at the same time the political evolution of our country on the one hand, and the social culture, habits, and life of the people on the other.
4. The work strives to observe scrupulous proportion in treating the different parts and phases of our national career, neglecting none and over-emphasizing none. Also, while pronouncedly national and patriotic, it is careful to be perfectly fair and kind to the people of all sections.
5. Effort has been made to present the matter in the most natural periods and divisions, and to give such a title to each of these as to render the table of contents a truthful and instructive epitome of our national past.
6. With the same aim the Fore-history is exhibited in sharp separation from the United States history proper, calling due attention to what is too commonly missed, the truly epochal character of the adoption of our present Constitution, in 1789.
7. Copious illustration has been employed, with diligent study to make it for every reader in the highest degree an instrument of instruction, delight, and cultivation in art.
8. No pains has been spared to secure perfect accuracy in all references to dates, persons, and places, so that the volumes may be used with confidence as a work of reference. I am persuaded that much success in this has been attained, despite the uncertainty still attaching to many matters of this sort in United States history, especially to dates.
BROWN UNIVERSITY, September 15. 1894.