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Timely Suggestions for Secondary School History
PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF FOUR COMMITTEES OF HISTORIANS IN CO-OPERATION WITH
THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR HISTORICAL SERVICE.
1. Ancient Democracy and the Laboring Class
BY PROFESSOR G. W. BOTSFORD, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.
In emphasizing the contribution of the Greeks to quest and subject to exploitation at the hands of their art, literature, and philosophy, we are inclined to own oligarchs. In a word, the attitude of the Athenminimize their vast advances in government and so- ian majority toward these less privileged classes was ciety. It is clear that their Minoan predecessors in one of increasing benevolence, which, reinforced by Crete lived under the same absolutism as the dwellers the levelling principles of sophistic teaching, conon the Nile, and that the germs of the republic were tained the germ of a universal democracy. The pointroduced into Greece by the “ Indo-European ” in- litical development from the seventh to the fourth cenvaders. We find accordingly in the “Iliad ” of tury B. C. made increasingly for the improvement, Homer strong Minoan traditions of despotism min- not only of citizen laborers, but of all less privileged gled with the actualities of an aristocratic republic, classes with which the government came into contact. in which the king is straitly limited by the nobles. In the fourth century progress was delayed, and the The “Odyssey ” presents at Ithaca a picture of a State weakened, by socialistic experimentation. It kingless country misruled by a group of turbulent
was at this time that, mainly through democratic dearistocrats. Here are glimpses of the process by velopment, the laboring classes reached a height of which, in the civilized world, the republic came into political, social, and economic well-being to which being. The loving care of the king for his people, they did not again attain till comparatively recent like that of a father for his children, vanished along times. with the monarch; and both Hesiod and Solon bitterly That no further advance took place is obviously complain of the hard-hearted nobles evilly banded for
due in the main to the encroachment of imperialism; the exploitation of the masses.
for the notion that Hellenic democracy had reached Meanwhile the gradual diffusion of economic pros
the limit of its capability is absurd; it is in fact an perity and of intelligence, involving military and po
error of modern historical logic to demand that the litical ambitions, over a widening circle of the popula- Greeks should have accomplished in decades what we tion tended to broaden, the civic franchise. The
have achieved through the struggles of centuries, and process continued till in progressive States like
to assume that the very founders of political life were Athens democracy was established. Whereas the
alone of all men incapable of learning by experience. policy of the aristocratic régime had been to reduce
The military monarchy of Philip and Alexander the commons to serfdom or actual slavery, the more
served merely as a transition to the Hellenistic age. liberal governments, and generally in proportion to
In this new condition many a Greek city-state, shorn their advancement toward democracy, aimed in vari
of its independence, became practically a municipality ous ways to lift the submerged classes to the plane of
in a great kingdom. Patronized as a rule by the king, respectable citizenship. We find this policy espe
it enjoyed local freedom on sufferance only. The encially successful in Periclean Attica; nowhere else in
vironment of these communities and of those which Greece were the farmers so prosperous; and there lay outside the kingdoms was such as to foster perwas a total absence of paupers outside the physically petual fear and servility. Notwithstanding many exunfit. As the resources of the community, however, hibitions of generous or of heroic character in states were limited, a humanitarian policy militated against and individuals, the historian is compelled to regret a the admission of aliens to the citizenship, while re
general decline in manliness with the passing of the ligious feeling which identified God with Blood co
older freedom. operated in favor of an exclusive citizen body.
Different was the condition of those Greeks who It has sometimes been urged that the Athenians
left their native land to undertake private business lived in ease at the expense of others—slaves, alien residents, and tributary allies-and were therefore throughout the Hellenistic kingdoms, or to assist the not democratic in any modern sense. In answer it
kings in the administration of their realms, or to setmay be said that careful inspection shows the great economically well with those Hellenes who could join
tle as military colonists on the kings' lands. It was majority of Athenians gaining all or a large part of
the class of exploiters of a conquered population, but their living by the labor of their hands, and, in con
ill enough with the considerable number who sooner trast with oligarchs, treating both slaves and resident aliens with notable gentleness and humanity. As re
or later sank to the condition of subjects. There was gards the allies, the majority in every State pre
an appreciable deterioration of the laboring class ferred the rule of Athens to independence, a condition from the fourth century to the Hellenistic age—due in which they would have been open to foreign con
largely to a lapse of interest on the part of the gov
ernment. In the administrative documents of Hellen parent to his children (the Antonines); but in genistic Egypt, for example, we search in vain for that eral his benevolence could not reach the peasants. benevolence which was so conspicuous in early time, Gradually they fell into serfdom, from which they even in the Egypt of the Pharaohs. In the Roman were freed in early modern times; and it is only in reempire Hellenistic conditions were perpetuated and cent years that laborers have been regaining the extended. The Princeps stood toward the provin- social, political, and economic advantages which they cials as a shepherd to his flock (Tiberius) or as a enjoyed under the Greek democracy.
II. The Interest of Seventeenth Century England for Students of
BY PROFESSOR WALLACE NOTESTEIN, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA.
The historians when they come to review this war set forth three fundamental civic facts of English hiswill have something to say about the far-reaching tory that belong to a considerable degree in the seveneffects of the teaching of history in Germany—and in teenth century; he can show the significance of the America. It is not alone the Irish and the German growth of the functions of parliament, of the beginAmericans who were reluctant to see our country
nings of the party system and of the cabinet. fighting with Britain, but many of old American stock, The rights of parliament were won, possibly to a who had not forgotten “ Tarleton's men” or General
greater degree than we always realize, in the century Gage. That we had received a legacy of English in
and a half before the American Revolution. The more stitutions and traditions was a commonplace that had
we examine the parliamentary debates of late Eliza
bethan and of Stuart times, the more we suspect that been almost forgotten, if ever realized, by many other
the Tudor parliament was largely a registering body, wise intelligent Americans. That fact the teachers of
doing pretty much what the Administration wished. English history have a chance to emphasize, and so
If it complained sometimes, so does the Reichstag. to remove some of the prejudices almost necessarily
It would not be a long cry from Peter and Paul Wentaccumulated in the study of the American Revolution.
worth and the other disgruntled spirits of Elizabeth's In particular the teacher, in dealing with the seven
parliaments to those discontented Social-Democrats, teenth century—which comes logically as well as
Herr Haase, Herr David and their friends—though chronologically before the century of the Revolution
we must not press the comparison to sovereigns. It has a chance to lay the proper groundwork in the
was with the early years of James' reign that there student's mind.
grew up, owing to special circumstances, but circumFor those who would make clear what we owe to stances that were almost sure to arise, a group of English institutions, the historical works are at hand.
earnest pushing men who knew what they wished, Men such as Andrews, Cheyney, Osgood, E. B. who planned legislation—a new thing, really—and Greene, Channing and Beer have given us the text
strove to put it through. When they found themand comment. From their writings the teacher can selves thwarted by the Privy Counsellors, such men gain the background from which to give American as Eliot, Hakewill, and Coke went around to the house history its setting as well as to give English history of that antiquary and friend, Sir Robert Cotton, to a fuller meaning. The student can hardly be told consult his manuscripts; they went to the Tower, and too often that he is dealing with the first part of tracked down the precedents that would support them American history-school directors eager to eliminate at Westminster Hall. They dug back into the records English history from the program might be told as of Lancastrian times—when parliament had been winwell. The connections must of course be illustrated.
ning some concessions from the sovereign-and turned The relation between the English parish and up many such precedents as they needed, precedents, the New England town-meeting offers an example, but which no doubt honestly enough, they magnified, until there are many. If such matters are presented as sim they had reconstructed a whole parliamentary system ply as honesty will permit and with some color of his that bad never existed—the tradition of which hardly torical imagination, the student will take hold of them. escapes us to-day—and began holding up that system He may come to realize that the boats that brought to the government. Upon that none too well grounded Puritans to Boston and planters to Jamestown brought foundation they developed a theory of parliament and not only men and furniture, but less visible and more its rights. By their work, by the slow accretions of durable things.
one slight victory after another, sometimes merely in Not only the heritage of England to America but trifles of procedure, by the rapid accretions of the her contribution to the world, orderly self-government, Long Parliament, then by wars and the lessons can be taught in connection with the seventeenth cen learned from those wars, and at length by the most tury. Usually the high school student at about the quiet of revolutions, parliament gained those rights time he is studying English history is in the midst of of " functioning," which our Congress has long taken civics and is finding it interesting. The teacher can
Hardly less important is the beginning of the partying from the young American scholar, E. R. Turner, system. The men who hunted down precedents under and from English scholars. The high school student the early Stuarts met and worked together. From is not too immature to appreciate the main features 1610 on they formed a kind of “Opposition ” to his of the cabinet, as a responsible body, and to realize Majesty. Early in the reign of Charles I, as early its wide use in the world, even the demand on the part indeed as 1626—we find them dubbed the “country of certain factions in Germany for its adoption. Here, party ” as contrasted with the “courtiers.” Gardiner too, the student must know the system as it works tosees in the lines drawn on February 8, 1641, those day-a boy likes to see the thing working and then between modern English parties. Is it carrying mat- hunt back. How it came to work so, is rather strong ters too far back to say that Sir Edward Coke, Sir meat for those below collegiate grade. But the sevenJohn Eliot, Sir Dudley Digges, and their associates teenth century should not be passed without some were the earliest Liberals, or Whigs—for they were efforts to trace the beginnings of that most flexible more nearly the latter. Such teaching presupposes and smooth-working piece of machinery. It should that the student understands the parties of of course be made perfectly clear that the close comto-day. And he should understand them, I think, mittees of James I and Charles I's Privy Councils, long before he comes to recent history. The meaning and the cabal of Charles II, all of them, fell far short of the play is better grasped—and the play is seldom of a cabinet. less interesting—if the listener knows how it is going
Parliament, parties, and cabinet, these are obvious to end. If the student sees in the several groups
facts of English history, but their meaning seems to that made up the two warring parties of the Civil Wars, the similarity to the groups that compose the
have escaped too many. What Americans owe to Eng
land has escaped them even more. If the meaning of parties to-day, he will have learned what will make the past and present more real, and he will be in a
these facts is ever to be appreciated in this country, better position to understand the first part of Ameri
it will have to be through the teachings of the high can history.
school. The teacher could hardly wish a better chance The cabinet is no less significant, though less a part than to interpret them to young people who so easily of the seventeenth century. About its working to-day accept and revere “democracy
democracy” and who so seldom we know much; about its evolution we are still learn- understand its history.
III. Some Aspects of American Experience—1775-1783
BY JAMES SULLIVAN, PH.D., HEAD OF DIVISION OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE
OF NEW YORK.
In view of the present war and the way in which bodies of militia—that is groups of men subject to call by successive steps, we were gradually forced to take for military service. In most cases, however, these up arms, it is interesting to note some parallels with men met irregularly and were imperfectly organized our War for Independence.
and poorly trained. When called, they assembled The colonists, like ourselves, did not want war.
It slowly and their training consisted of a few short was for them, as for us, largely a question of going drills, a day's musketry practice, and some sham batinto it, or giving up principles which were felt to be
tles. In some of the colonies they never came together right, and they chose the former. Even after the so
at all. Massachusetts early urged Congress to take called Olive Branch Petition to George III, and his
over the control of the army which was gathering about ministers had failed, and the people of the colonies Boston, but Congress was slow in doing it. Finally, found themselves in conflict with British arms, they however, it did so and put Washington in charge of had no clear notion, as Washington testifies, of sever- it. By this act the troops which had been drawn from ing themselves from the mother country. They saw
the four New England colonies were made a contia conflict of resistance for justification and it was
nental army under the control of Congress and of a only gradually that it dawned over them that the general appointed by it. When Washington took confight was an irreconcilable struggle which could only trol everything was in great disorder. The equipment be settled by separation.
of the troops, their uniforms, the terms of enlistment, To any sane
person the chances for success against the methods of selecting officers, the size of the comthe power of Great Britain must have seemed hope- panies and the regiments, were as various as the cololess. The colonists had no central government, no
nies furnishing them.
Ont of all this chaos Washington created his conarmy or navy, no money, no allies, and within their midst there was a large body of people who were hos
tinental army—the Line-as it came to be called, but tile to the idea of entering an armed conflict with the
not without much discouragement. In one of his letmother country.
ters he says: “Such a dearth of public spirit, and such To organize an army was a difficult thing. In want of virtue, such stock-jobbing, and fertility in all many of the colonies there were loosely organized the low arts to obtain advantages of one kind or
another, in this great change of military arrangement, which existed in our midst composed of those comI never saw before, and pray God ... I may never be monly called Tories or Loyalists. These people, who witness to again.” By January 1, 1776, the new Con were much more numerous than is commonly supposed, tinental army was completely organized. Throughout did everything in their power to thwart the revolting the war bodies of militia from the various colonies gave colonists from making the Revolution a success. Their it assistance and were in turn assisted by it. The Line deeds remind us of some of the doings of people who was recruited by the volunteer system, but difficulties live among us at the present day. They sowed sediwere soon encountered in getting a sufficient number. tion, they proselyted, spread false news, depreciated Bounties had to be resorted to and these were offered the currency and threw discredit on the financial sometimes in the form of money, land or clothing ability of the government, dissuaded people from subLarge numbers of the men after getting their bounties scribing to loans, stole powder, piloted hostile vessels, deserted. Some of them enlisted again under different sold goods to the enemy, stole letters, plotted Washnames and from different places in order to get another ington's assassination, harbored spies, gave aid and bounty. Washington had frequently to lament the comfort to the enemy. abuses of the system.
At the beginning too much leniency was shown to Of greater difficulty even than getting an army was these people, who, as Washington said, were “preying getting money to pay the army, to buy equipment and upon the vitals of the country.” He further wrote provisions, to secure ordnance and ships, and to meet that “my tenderness has been much abused ” and rethe expenses of the government generally. As Congress peatedly complained to state legislatures and friends had no authority to raise money by taxation, resort of the “diabolical and insidious arts and schemes was had almost immediately to the issuance of paper carrying on by the Tories ... to raise distrust, dissenmoney and before the war was over nearly $250,- sions and divisions among us.” Gradually it became 000,000 of this “continental ” money had been issued. clear to the colonists that the sternest kind of reThis had no specie behind it, but each state was suppressive measures would have to be taken against the posed to make provision for a pro rata redemption. Tories if the newly formed American state were to be This some of the states did only partially, and others successful. not at all. By 1780 it took forty paper dollars to The various provincial assemblies then began to get one silver dollar and by 1781 it took one hundred.
pass test acts compelling all to take the oath of alle" Barber-shops were papered in jest with the bills; giance. Those who failed to do so were denied the and the sailors, on returning from their cruise, being rights of citizenship, of voting, and of holding office; paid off in bundles of this worthless money, had suits lawyers were denied the right to practise, teachers of clothes made of it.”
the right to teach, druggists the right to dispense, Another method of getting funds used by Congress and physicians the right to practise. They were dewas to requisition the states for certain proportionate nied any standing in the courts, could not collect their amounts, but these sums seldom came in full and to
debts, serve as guardians, executors or administrators, wards the close of the war ceased to be honored at all.
they could not be jurymen, could neither buy nor sell In 1780 Congress had to resort to the method of ask
lands, nor dispose of their fortunes at death, and ing the states to furnish supplies in kind instead of
their deeds of gift were invalid. In one state anyone in money.
who objected to taking the oath was given two hours A third method of raising money was by domestic to decide and upon refusal was cast into jail. In and foreign loans. To float the domestic loan, offices
others the obdurate were forbidden to travel or go were established in each state and indentured notes
near the enemies' lines, were disarmed, imprisoned, to bear interest at 4 per cent., then at 6 per cent., were pilloried, their hair cropped; they were specially issued. The amount first attempted to be raised in this
taxed, their property confiscated, attacked or burned, way was $5,000,000, but the subscriptions fell short
their houses subjected to visit and their letters opened of $4,000,000. When Congress succeeded in floating
to discover treasonable matter. They were gathered ina foreign loan, however, the credit was improved and
to groups and banished to districts where they could do larger domestic loans were made possible. Money
little harm; many were placed in concentration camps, was obtained from abroad in the form of gifts or sub others were expatriated to Great Britain and to Cansidies from France and Spain, and also in the form ada, or banished to Europe and the West Indies. of loans from the same governments and from bankers
The Tory press was also severely restricted. To these in Holland. Little of actual money from these, how
severe measures Washington and his contemporaries ever, reached this country, the proceeds being ex
gave their approval for they believed that sympathipended in buying supplies over there. This is, coin
zers with the enemy must be treated as enemies of cidentally, exactly what the countries of Europe are
the state. doing to-day, except that the action is reversed. Loans floated by England, France and Italy in this country
These are only a few aspects of American experito-day are not taken out of the country in money, but
ence during the War for Independence which should are used to buy supplies to be shipped over there. be suggestive in the present crisis. Other illustra
A third experience of importance during the War tions which might be developed if space permitted for Independence was that with the disloyal element are: The privations endured by the colonists; the
help rendered us by our allies; the rejection of appeals Burgoyne's surrender. All these topics bring up for peace; and the refusal to entertain the proposi- problems analogous to those which now confront the tions of the British peace commission, sent over after American people and their government.
IV. The Origins of the Triple Alliance
PREPARED FOR THE COMMITTEE ON MEDIEVAL AND MODERN HISTORY, AND BASED UPON A. C. COOL
IDGE'S "ORIGINS OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE” (“SCRIBNER'S,” 1917).
The Triple Alliance had its origin between the Austria, expanding to the southeast, was necessarily a Peace of Frankfurt (1871) and the accession of Italy rival of Russia, and Russia was humiliated and deeply in 1882 to the alliance already consummated between offended. Bismarck realized not only that Russia Germany and Austria. Bismarck's policy after the would not give him a free hand against France, but Franco-Prussian war was influenced by the fear of a that Germany must be guaranteed against Russian rewar of revenge and the desire to keep France weak sentment. He probably felt, too, that Germany and occupied with home affairs. He was glad to see could not hope in an alliance with Russia to play the France a republic, because a republic could less eas- dominant role. He turned to Austria, and, in spite ily find alliances. He wished to prevent an alliance of the great reluctance of William I, arranged the against Germany, but on the other hand desired that Austro-German alliance of 1879. Germany herself should have allies——if possible, her The accession of Italy to that alliance was largely old allies of the Holy Alliance, Austria and Russia, her own doing. The ties of common latinity between both nations politically conservative. During the France and Italy did not avail to make the latter nayears 1871 and 1872, through Bismarck's efforts and tion forget its grievances. It was hard for Italy to the interchange of royal visits, an understanding was forget Napoleon III, his failure to restore Venice, reached between the sovereigns of the three states. his retention of French troops in Rome, his taking of The alliance dominated Europe and was too strong Nice and Savoy. When France after the Congress for any combination France might make.
of Berlin, with the consent of England and the favorBut when France recovered rapidly and began to able attitude of Bismarck, made Tunis a protectorate, strengthen her army, Bismarck alarmed. Italy was roused to protests, frantic but unavailing. Whether he purposed war against France in 1875, or Weak and isolated, she turned towards Berlin and meant merely to browbeat her, is not certain. Both was directed to Vienna. To Vienna King Humbert St. Petersburg and London used pressure in behalf of went and gained a promise of the integrity of Italy's France. Bismarck realized that the Tsar wished to territory, but not what he also hoped, support for her maintain the existence of France as a great power. position and ambitions in the Mediterranean. AusThe league of the three emperors, he felt, would not tria's treaty with Italy was duplicated by that with suffice.
On May 22, 1882, the two documents Meantime the Eastern Question served to make which together constituted the Triple Alliance were Russia a less dependable ally. The insurrection in signed in Vienna. It was a triumph for Bismarck, 1875 of Herzegovina and Bosnia against Turkey and one for which he paid little. drew in Serbia and Montenegro, and endangered relations between Russia and Austria. The attempted arrangement between the emperors of Austria and
Prof. Samuel P. Orth, of Cornell, in writing on Kaiser Russia at Reichstadt in 1876 might have proved satis- and Volk” in the November “Century,” argues that it is factory had Serbia not been defeated and invaded by “high time the American people rid themselves of the fatal Turkish troops. When public opinion in Russia delusion that there is a distinction between the ambitions pushed the Tsar towards war, when the Turks failed of the Kaiser and of his people. They are a terrible unity; to meet the demands for local autonomy and improve
neither will forsake the other,” and backs his argument by ment of administration formulated at an international historical precedent and personal observation. conference at Constantinople, Russia, assuring herself “ The Irish Convention-and After,” by Mrs. John Richfirst of Austria's friendly if conditional neutrality, ard Greene (“Atlantic” for November), is an able and indeclared war. When Russia after serious defeats teresting account by one of the great authorities on Irish took Plevna and pressed on towards Constantinople, history. She is a strong partisan of Ireland, but not so Turkey agreed to the Treaty of San Stefano. Eng- much so as lose her sense of historical value. In conclu. land and Austria, dissatisfied with that treaty, took
sion, she says: “In the Irish view, the British have utterly steps threatening war, and Russia was forced to con
failed in the imperial temper. Their statesmanship has
not been such as to mark them as an imperially-minded sent to the Congress of Berlin. There Russia's win
race. The time has come for a new beginning. The creanings were pared, and Austria gained control over
tion of an alliance which the old methods have failed to Bosnia and Herzegovina; England brought back produce now depends on the insight and the courage of the "peace with honor” and had gained Cyprus. convention. ... The imperialism of old days—the govern
The outcome of that congress meant the further ment of possession by a superior people--is gone, and with weakening of the alliance of the three emperors.
it the word itself is fast disappearing."