The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The New Nation. [The Riverside History of the United States,
IV. William E. Dodd, Editor.] By Frederick L. Paxson,
Professor of History in the University of Wisconsin.
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. [1915.] Pp.
342, xiv. $1.25 net.)
In attempting to tell the story of the United States from the
Civil War to the middle of Woodrow Wilson's administration,
Professor Paxson has assumed a most difficult ta.sk. So infinitely
varied and complex has our social and economic life become that
one who would traverse our recent history can seldom be sure
of his path. Lack of perspective and the influences of prejudices,
which are frequently the more dangerous because subconscious,
hinder at nearly every step.
To say that Professor Paxson has succeeded in giving in the
main a clear and convincing narrative is, therefore, high praise.
He has rightly given chief place to. that economic growth which
has contributed, so powerfully to the development of a truly na-
tional but complex social organism and which has brought with
it the tremendous problem of readjusting to this condition an old
system based upon a relatively simple and homogeneous condition
of society. To his mind the Civil War was but incidental to the
development of this life and reconstruction equally so. One chap-
ter of barely twenty pages suffices for his treatment of the latter
subject and nowhere does he give evidence of any appreciation of the
profound change in our constitutional system which was wrought
by the stress of war and reconstruction. The subjects chiefly
dealt with a.te the intimate relation of big business and politics,
already apparent in the years immediately following the war; the
development of the far West; the greenback and granger move-
ments; the tariff; populism; free silver; the trust and corpora-
tion problems: Roosevelt and the New ZNationalism. But one
chapter is given to the Spanish war, which again is merely inci-
dental to the larger developments of the country's economic growth.
The narrative comes down to 1914.
CHAS. W. RAMSDELL.
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 August 29, 2014.