Date of this Version
Surprisingly few Americans have any definitive or comprehensive knowledge of the history of their country, although many are under the delusion that their school book history taught them all they needed to know.
They were indoctrinated with a smattering of dates which included the voyage of Columbus and the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth. They learned what Priscilla said to John Alden, gloated over the Boston Tea Party and memorized part of Patrick Henry's speech; they were briefed on Bunker Hill, Washington crossing the Delaware and the Surrender of Cornwallis. And that just about completed that era.
Daniel Roone's trek into Kentucky, Andy Jackson at New Orleans, and the struggle between the States were considered necessary landmarks in school history. These were followed by subjugation of the Iridians, extinction of the buffalo and the Spanish-American war; which wrapped up American history to the year 1900 in a tight little package.
There have been books written also on the nation's wealth of natural resources, but too few of them in relation to people. People and their affinity to forests, prairies, mountains, deserts, lakes and rivers are the warp and woof of this country, and they should not and cannot be separated in reciting the unequaled drama of America.
History can be hade a dull and musty recitation of dates and political events, or it can be brought to life and made a vibrant, living story. It can be the record of forces and stresses that motivate mankind; of violence that challenges dictators and traditions; of the urge to migrate, to cross trackless mountains and deserts, and to breast uncharted seas; of the impulse to be self-righteous, to make aggressive war while praying for peace.
This booklet makes no pretense of being a complete history of the United States. It is not a recital of events but a panorama of motivation and action; a picture that must be viewed from a distance to appreciate the restless ebb and flow of humanity and the fabulous wealth of empire that we claim as our heritage. Its intent is to arouse an intellectual curiosity for resource history, which will lead the reader to an interest in the bibliography and other outstanding publications.—E. S.