The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916

Book Reviews and Notices

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
Beginnings of the American People. [The Riverside History of
the United States, I. William E. Dodd, Editor.] By
Carl Lotus Becker, Professor of European I-Iistory in the
UIniversity of Kansas. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Com-
pany. [1915.] Pp. 279, xviii. $1.25 net.)
It has long been a matter for wonder that so little of the most
imp-ortant results of recent and contemporary research in Ameri-
can colonial history has found ifs way into the text-books, even
the latest on that period. Professor Becker is practically the first
text-book writer to. make appreciative use of this material. He
approaches his subject from the broad point of view of one who
regards the young colonies as "disjected particles of ancient
Europe," and who, in following their development, never loses
sight of the fact that they were but parts of a great English im-
perial system.
The volume is a bit of real literature, a brilliant and charming
piece of historical writing. Noivhere can there be found in small
compass a more vivid and telling description of the European
background of the discovery of the New World than is in the first
thirty pages of this little volume. Equally successful are the ac-
counts of the social development and intellectual life of the col-
onies, especially in the eighteenth century. It is in these aspects
of the period that Professor Becker seems most interested, but as
already indicated he is careful to explain England's commercial
and colonial policies, and the tendencies of American industrial
an] political life, all of which of course determined the political
and administrative relations between the mother country and her
offspring. And here one criticism may be offered. Too little at-
tention is given to the evolution of those colonial political insti-
tutions, particularly the assemblies, by means of which the colon-
ists were able to gain control of their own local affairs and to
strike at the imperial system which bound them, and in defense
of which they finally broke with the empire and sought inde-
pendence.
As to the Rlevolution itself, our author's point of view is again

313

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/. Accessed July 10, 2014.