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US History. General Historiography Historiography – the study of the study of History Interpret this quote: “Every true history is contemporary history.” Benedetto Croce. Puritans. 17 th century

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Us history

US History

General Historiography

Historiography – the study of the study of History

Interpret this quote: “Every true history is contemporary history.” Benedetto Croce


Puritans
Puritans

  • 17th century

  • Focus on God, God’s actions/concerns, religious justification of New England settlements


Patricians
Patricians

  • 18th-19th c

  • George Bancroft - History of the United States

  • Enlightenment, secular over religious…but God favors American systems/institutions

  • History is about progression of mankind’s growing liberties

  • US has mission to spread liberty/democracy


Professional
Professional

  • Gen 1 – Mid to late 19th c

  • Frederick Jackson Turner – “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”

  • Frontier defines America(ns)

  • Ours is a history of successive crossing of frontiers and breaking of barriers

  • Adaptation to frontier defines our values – rugged individualism, materialism, pragmatism, egalitarianism


Progressives
Progressives

  • Late 19th c – WWII

  • Charles Beard – An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution

  • Reform minded liberal interp of past

  • History is a series of conflicts – rich v. poor, East v. West, aristocracy v. democracy

  • History is a struggle of people/groups to maintain democracy


Neoconservative
Neoconservative

  • Post WWII – Vietnam

  • Daniel Boorstin - The Genius of American Politics

  • Am hist is about consensus

  • Our institutions, principles, character, middle class values bond us

  • Private property, limited gov’t, natural rights of man, natural law

  • Any Conservative v. Liberal fight in America is silly – Americans were “born free”


New left
New Left

  • 1960s-70s

  • Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States

  • Attempts “bottom up” history

  • Focus on social and economic conflict rather than political aspects (no more “dead white guys”)

  • Critical of conservative approach for being too narrow – should look at the marginalized, disenfranchised, etc.


  • The makers of the Constitution represented the solid, conservative, commercial, and financial interests of the country – not the interests which denounced and proscribed judges in Rhode Island, New Jersey and North Carolina, and stoned their houses in New York. The conservative interests, made desperate by the imbecilities of the Confederation and harried by the state legislatures, roused themselves from the lethargy, drew together in a mighty effort to establish a gov’t that would be strong enough to pay the national debt, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, provide for the national defense , prevent fluctuations in the currency created by paper emissions, and control the propensities of legislative majorities to attack private rights….The radicals, however, like Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and Samuel Adams, were conspicuous by their absence from the Convention.

  • Beard, Econ Interp of Const




  • Now the peculiarity of American institutions is the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people – to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life.

  • Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”


  • The history of the American Revolution is in part a history of the years of action following Lexington, but much more of it is the history of the Americans’ search for principles. That search brought them to Lexington and to war in 1775, but it did not end there. Throughout the years of fighting, it continued and finally culminated in the adoption of the federal Constitution. It was a noble search, a daring search, and by almost any standards, a successful search.

  • Edmund Morgan, The Birth of the Republic


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