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This work is issued to fill a void. There is, at present, no other complete History of the United States so illustrated, and so generally fitted for popular circulation. From the discovery of America to the events of President Fillmore's administration, few, if any, occurrences of importance in the life of our country have escaped our mention; while most of its thrilling scenes and prominent characters are so depicted as to strike deep into the memory.
We claim nothing beyond having furnished a History for the people. Works of deep research and eloquent style, regarding particular periods, are numerous; but they are not in the hands of the masses — they are too elaborate for general appreciation. Some of them have too much space devoted to the discussion of questions, important to the over-curious alone; while others are of such a documentary character, that they become too dry for the popular palate. A few only want completeness and the illustrations to be all that can be required. For ourselves, we may say, that while we have striven to give our History an attractive dress, we have been careful to apply for our information to the most authentic and reliable sources.
The saw, “Truth is strange - stranger than fiction,” will appear, to the reader of the history of the United States, to be well founded. Romance has no power to awaken interest comparable with that exercised by the wondrous events recorded in our annals. The daring voyages of Columbus and Cabot the adventures and exploits of Ponce de Leon, Narvaez, De Soto, and the other Spanish warriors, who sought wealth and glory in the enchanted region of Florida - the settlement at Jamestown - the landing of the Pilgrims—the struggles between the white and the red men for dominion, as well as the fierce contests and subtle diplomatic contrivances which
occurred between the French, Spaniards, and English, for the same end—the gradual growth of the provinces--their opposition to tyranny in all shapes -- their union — their bloody struggle with their mighty and unnatural mother ---- their triumph, and the establishment of the independent republican confederacy-the upward progress of the United States through the red clouds of war, and the mists of foreign, envious diplomacy, to the pure air of freedom, strength, and happiness—are events upon which imagination will delight to dwell. No romancer ever conceived as much of the grand and the beautiful, or of the dark and the groveling, as such a history can present. The theme is a noble one, worthy of the skilful pen and the brilliant pencil.
Perhaps no History has ever been more profusely illustrated than this. Every event susceptible of representation with effect in an engraving, and every personage of sufficient importance to merit remembrance, and of whom a likeness is preserved and accessible, will be found depicted in the ensuing pages, adding immeasurably to the use and beauty of the work. The labour and skill thus spent cannot but result in substantial benefit to our readers. The historical narrative thus illustrated cannot soon be forgotten.
A knowledge of the history of our country is indispensable to every American and republican. By learning how the nation has reached its present proud position, the citizen will become more patriotic; and by seeing how dearly freedom and independence have been bought, the republican will become more watchful of his liberties. The citizen of the United States need not resort to the history of the old world for noble characters, brave deeds, or glorious institutions. Let him peruse the records of the life of his own bright and happy land, and he will meet with such warriors and patriots as Washington and Wayne -
- such statesmen as Franklin, Madison, and Jefferson - such actions as those of “Breed's Hill” and the “Cowpens” - and such free and progressive institutions as the Utopian dreamers might have worshipped.