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Author Topic: The Beards: Basic History of the US  (Read 3217 times)


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The Beards: Basic History of the US
« on: September 26, 2007, 05:31:57 pm »

The Beards: Basic History of the United States (at

Beard, Charles A., 1874-1948 & Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958 (

Charles: Widely known for his radical re-evaluation of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

And ed. of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace


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Re: The Beards: Basic History of the US
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 07:08:02 pm »

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

html version and a long argument about it at


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Re: The Beards: Basic History of the US
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2008, 05:37:00 pm »

History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard (1921)


As things now stand, the course of instruction in American history in
our public schools embraces three distinct treatments of the subject.
Three separate books are used. First, there is the primary book, which
is usually a very condensed narrative with emphasis on biographies and
anecdotes. Second, there is the advanced text for the seventh or eighth
grade, generally speaking, an expansion of the elementary book by the
addition of forty or fifty thousand words. Finally, there is the high
school manual. This, too, ordinarily follows the beaten path, giving
fuller accounts of the same events and characters. To put it bluntly, we
do not assume that our children obtain permanent possessions from their
study of history in the lower grades. If mathematicians followed the
same method, high school texts on algebra and geometry would include the
multiplication table and fractions.

There is, of course, a ready answer to the criticism advanced above. It
is that teachers have learned from bitter experience how little history
their pupils retain as they pass along the regular route. No teacher of
history will deny this. Still it is a standing challenge to existing
methods of historical instruction. If the study of history cannot be
made truly progressive like the study of mathematics, science, and
languages, then the historians assume a grave responsibility in adding
their subject to the already overloaded curriculum. If the successive
historical texts are only enlarged editions of the first text—more
facts, more dates, more words—then history deserves most of the sharp
criticism which it is receiving from teachers of science, civics, and

In this condition of affairs we find our justification for offering a
new high school text in American history. Our first contribution is one
of omission. The time-honored stories of exploration and the
biographies of heroes are left out. We frankly hold that, if pupils know
little or nothing about Columbus, Cortes, Magellan, or Captain John
Smith by the time they reach the high school, it is useless to tell the
same stories for perhaps the fourth time. It is worse than useless. It
is an offense against the teachers of those subjects that are
demonstrated to be progressive in character.

In the next place we have omitted all descriptions of battles. Our
reasons for this are simple. The strategy of a campaign or of a single
battle is a highly technical, and usually a highly controversial, matter
about which experts differ widely. In the field of military and naval
operations most writers and teachers of history are mere novices. To
dispose of Gettysburg or the Wilderness in ten lines or ten pages is
equally absurd to the serious student of military affairs. Any one who
compares the ordinary textbook account of a single Civil War campaign
with the account given by Ropes, for instance, will ask for no further
comment. No youth called upon to serve our country in arms would think
of turning to a high school manual for information about the art of
warfare. The dramatic scene or episode, so useful in arousing the
interest of the immature pupil, seems out of place in a book that
deliberately appeals to boys and girls on the very threshold of life's
serious responsibilities.

It is not upon negative features, however, that we rest our case. It is
rather upon constructive features.

    First. We have written a topical, not a narrative, history. We have
    tried to set forth the important aspects, problems, and movements of
    each period, bringing in the narrative rather by way of illustration.

    Second. We have emphasized those historical topics which help to
    explain how our nation has come to be what it is to-day.

    Third. We have dwelt fully upon the social and economic aspects of our
    history, especially in relation to the politics of each period.

    Fourth. We have treated the causes and results of wars, the problems
    of financing and sustaining armed forces, rather than military strategy.
    These are the subjects which belong to a history for civilians. These
    are matters which civilians can understand—matters which they must
    understand, if they are to play well their part in war and peace.

    Fifth. By omitting the period of exploration, we have been able to
    enlarge the treatment of our own time. We have given special attention
    to the history of those current questions which must form the subject
    matter of sound instruction in citizenship.

    Sixth. We have borne in mind that America, with all her unique
    characteristics, is a part of a general civilization. Accordingly we
    have given diplomacy, foreign affairs, world relations, and the
    reciprocal influences of nations their appropriate place.

    Seventh. We have deliberately aimed at standards of maturity. The
    study of a mere narrative calls mainly for the use of the memory. We
    have aimed to stimulate habits of analysis, comparison, association,
    reflection, and generalization—habits calculated to enlarge as well as
    inform the mind. We have been at great pains to make our text clear,
    simple, and direct; but we have earnestly sought to stretch the
    intellects of our readers—to put them upon their mettle. Most of them
    will receive the last of their formal instruction in the high school.
    The world will soon expect maturity from them. Their achievements will
    depend upon the possession of other powers than memory alone. The
    effectiveness of their citizenship in our republic will be measured by
    the excellence of their judgment as well as the fullness of their


    New York City, February 8, 1921.
    - - - - -


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    Re: The Beards: Basic History of the US
    « Reply #3 on: February 25, 2008, 09:23:25 pm »

    [wiki]Charles Austin Beard[/wiki] (1874–1948)


      American Government and Politics (1910 PDF)
      An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913)
      Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy (1915, PDF)
      The Administration and Politics of Tokyo (1923, read online)
      The Rise of American Civilization (1927)
      History of the United States (1944, G'berg HTML|Text)
      President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941. Yale University Press; 1948.

      These books by the late dean of American historians constitute the most complete and authoritative treatment of the evolution of Roosevelt foreign policy from isolationism to interventionism and war. The second volume is the most detailed account of Roosevelt's maneuvering the Japanese into the attack at Pearl Harbor, providing the full political and diplomatic background.


      Others Online

        Readings in American Government and Politics (1909 PDF)
        The Development of Modern Europe (1907 PDF)
        National Governments and the World War (1919 PDF)
        An Introduction to the English Historians (1906 PDF)
        Readings in Modern European History (1909 PDF)
        History of the United States (1921 PDF)
      « Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 09:40:24 pm by Junker »
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