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THE UNITED STATES.
FOR FAMILIES AND LIBRARIES.
BENSON J. LOSSING,
AUTHOR OF "PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION," "HISTORY OF THE UNITED
ILLUSTRATED BY NEARLY THREE HUNDRED ENGRAVINGS.
108 & 110 DUANE STREET.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.
On one side stands an old man representing The Past, counting the passage of the years upon the dial of Time. On the opposite side is a young woman, representing The Present, and holding in her hand the Constitution, and the pileus and cap of Liberty. She is pointing to the unfinished pyramid of the States of the Republic, over which is the rising sun, with the words EXCELSOIR-" still higher!" On one side of The Past is The British Flag indicating the Colonial Era. On the other side is the American Flag, indicating the Confederation. In the center is a Doric Column, Emblem of Strength and Congruity, surmounted by an Eagle, the symbol of Sovereignty. These represent our government. Leaning against the column is History, making her records. On the side of The Past is a Censer, emblem of Purification, the incense from which, coming down from The Past, is diffused over The Present. Over-arching the whole are stars upon a blue field, our national Constellation, and symbol of our Confederated States. Around The Past clusters the Ivy, and around The Present is the Honeysuckle.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856,
BY MASON BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
THIS work has been prepared with great care, for the purpose of supplying a want long felt by the reading public, and especially by Heads of Families. Every important event in the history of the United States, from the Aboriginal period to the present time, is presented in a concise, but perspicuous and comprehensive manner, without giving those minute and often tedious details, which are valuable to the student, but irksome to the common reader. The History of our Republic is herein popularized, and adapted to the use of those who may not find leisure to peruse more extensive works upon the subject. The materials have been drawn from the earlier, most elaborate, and most reliable historians and chroniclers of our continent. The work is constructed upon a new plan, which, it is believed, will be found to be the most acceptable yet offered to the public, for obtaining, with facility, and fixing in the memory, a knowledge of the great events of our truly wonderful history. And having visited a greater portion of the localities made memorable by important occurrences in our country, the writer claims, in that particular, an advantage over his predecessors in this special field, for he has been able to correct errors and give truthful impressions of things and events. An endeavor has also been made to show the cause of every important event, and thus, by developing the philosophy of our history, to make it more attractive and instructive than a bald record of facts. And wherever the text appeared to need further elucidation, additional facts have been given in foot-notes.
The arrangement of the work is new. It is in six Periods, each commencing where the history naturally divides into distinct epochs. The first Period exhibits a general view of the Aboriginal race who occupied the continent when the Europeans came. The second is a record of all the Discoveries and preparations for settlement, made by individuals and governments. The third delineates the progress of all the Settlements until colonial governments were formed. The fourth tells the story of these Colonies from their infancy to maturity, and illustrates the continual development of Democratic ideas and Republican tendencies which finally resulted in a political
confederation. The fifth has a full account of the important events of the War for Independence, and the sixth gives a concise history of the Republic, from its formation to the present time. The Supplement is composed of the most important State Papers connected with that formation, such as the Stamp Act, and papers put forth by the Stamp Act Congress; the papers presented to the consideration of the world by the First and Second Continental Congresses; the Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederation; and the Federal Constitution, with the admirable Farewell Address of Washington. These documents, thus grouped and preserved, will be found valuable as embodying the principles of our government. The original draft, with the amendments, of the Declaration of Independence, is given; and, in foot-notes, every charge made against the king of Great Britain, in that manifesto, is proven from History. The Federal Constitution is also accompanied by important commentaries.
The system of concordance interwoven with the notes throughout the entire work, is of great importance to the reader. When a fact is named which bears a relation to another fact elsewhere recorded in the volume, a reference is made to the page where such fact is mentioned. A knowledge of this relationship of separate events is often essential to a clear view of the subject, and without this concordance, a great deal of time would be spent in searching for that relationship. With the concordance the matter may be found in a moment. Favorable examples of the utility of this new feature may be found on page 289. If strict attention shall be given to these references, the whole subject will be presented to the mind of the reader in a comprehensive aspect of unity not to be obtained by any other method.
The engravings are introduced not for the sole purpose of embellishing the volume, but to enhance its utility as an instructor. Every picture is intended to illustrate a fact, not merely to beautify the page. Great care has been taken to secure accuracy in all the delineations of men and things, so that they may not convey false instruction. Geographical maps have been omitted, because they must necessarily be too small to be of essential service. History may be read for the purpose of obtaining general information on the subject, without maps, but it should never be studied without the aid of an accurate Atlas.
The author has endeavored to make this work essentially a FAMILY HISTORY, attractive and instructive; and the Publishers have generously co-worked with him in producing a volume that may justly claim to be excellent in every particular. With these few observations concerning the general plan and merits of the work, it is presented to the public, with an entire willingness to have its reputation rest upon its own merits.