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The Congressional Game: A Prospectus

  • Robert Zemsky (a1), Nicholas Westbrook (a2) and William Koons (a3)

Extract

The principal question we now face as a discipline may well be, “Can history recapture its romantic past?” The roots of that tradition are well known, extending back to Bancroft, Motley and Parkman, who came to the practice of history principally as men of letters. Avid readers of Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, these first American historians saw in their craft the obligation not to analyze history, but to recreate it, thus forging what Richard Hofstadter called their “imaginative relation with the past.…What they worked for was experience not philosophy… the moral drama of history was told in pictorial terms. The effort at historical discipline… rested upon the insatiable quest for the right, the relevant detail.…The technical… side of the work of these men came primarily to this: facts were valued not so much as ‘evidence,’ as proofs in some analytic scheme, but as veracious details for the recreation of some experience.”

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Copyright

References

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Notes

1 Hofstadter, Richard, The Progressive Historians (New York: 1968), 1314 .

2 Butterfield, L. H. et al, eds., Diary and Autobiography of John Adams (New York: 1964), I: 98 .

3 Morison, Samuel Eliot, Christopher Columbus, Mariner (Boston: 1955), ix ; Morison, Samuel Eliot, Admirai of the Ocean Sea (Boston: 1942), xvi .

4 The test schools were the University of Pennsylvania, Germantown Friends School, and Harriton High School, Lower Merion Township.

5 Barber, , The Lawmakers (New Haven: 1965).

The Congressional Game: A Prospectus

  • Robert Zemsky (a1), Nicholas Westbrook (a2) and William Koons (a3)

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