The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 308
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
he then established Round Hill School, an institution so advanced
in method that educational reformers marvelled and the school
Marriage into the powerful Dwight family started him toward
financial independence at twenty-seven and enabled him to
escape the school room. First business, next politics, then history
engrossed him. Politics and history he practiced sometimes al-
ternately, sometimes concurrently, for sixty years after 1831-
the one often aiding the other. Bancroft's was not a single-
tracked mind. As Nye says, "While he studied for the ministry
and preached, he wrote poetry. While he taught school he
preached and wrote criticism . . . dabbled in politics. As his
political activity grew in importance, he began to write history.
When he left Round Hill . . . the pattern of his subsequent
career was set, and for the rest of his life . . . he was known
both as the dean of American historical writing and as a shrewd
political figure in Massachusetts and the nation."
Bancroft unquestionably knew more of the actualities of
American party politics than any other American historian,
but he did not write of that nor the period of his own political
activity. His History was of the earlier, therefore grander,
epoch when Englishmen guided by Providence were planting
democratic colonies in North America that the United States,
the hope of the world, might emerge from them. The story of
America, as Bancroft conceived and wrote it, was an illustration
of "the steady march of humanity toward a perfect state."
He was voicing, with scholarly trappings, what Americans
had been believing about themselves and their ancestors for
a generation. Some later said that Bancroft confused America
with the Kingdom of Heaven; Whigs suspected that his History
"voted for Andrew Jackson."
Bancroft did not write in order to win Jacksonian prefer-
ment; but he made sure that the leaders of the party knew what
he was doing and what Whigs were saying about it. No historian
in an ivory tower, he delivered the vote on election day and by
1837 was collector of the Port of Boston and boss of the rising
party of farmers and mechanics in Massachusetts. Seven years
later he helped James K. Polk win the presidency and became
his Secretary of the Navy, then Minister to England.
The London post brought him in touch with British his-
torians and men of letters and opened to him British and con-
tinental archives - which he kept open, with copyists tran-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/326/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.