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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

Suggested Reading

Founders and Frontiersmen
Historical Background

Epilogue—Traditions and Ideals

During the period of history treated in this volume, some of our greatest men—Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, John Adams, and Marshall—helped to shape the basic form and function of the Union and see the new Government through its crucial formative years. The Constitution, a timeless document, remains as relevant today as when it was written. Especially after the War of 1812, themes and trends emerged that shaped the later history of the Nation. Nationalism and sectionalism collided in the Civil War. The industrial revolution accelerated until it triumphed after 1865. The philosophy underlying the Monroe Doctrine guided national foreign policy into the 20th century. Westward expansion and the spirit of the frontier were vital forces until almost the end of the 19th century. Humanitarian concerns and the reform spirit remain active today. Above all, the preservation of individual liberty through representative government and the firm commitment to the democratic ideal have continued at the heart of the American political tradition.

Profound changes—political, economic, and scientific—separate us from the crucial and experimental years just after our Nation achieved independence. We live in another century, in another age. But, engrossed though we are in the perplexing problems of our own time, we must remember that our richest traditions and ideals were created by the wisdom of the Founders and the courage and hardihood of the early Frontiersmen.

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Last Updated: 29-Aug-2005