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The Congressional Game: A Prospectus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2016

Robert Zemsky
Affiliation:
University of Pennsylvania
Nicholas Westbrook
Affiliation:
Minnesota Historical Society
William Koons
Affiliation:
Germantown Friends School

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.”

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Social Science History Association 1976

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References

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

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

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

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)Google Scholar.

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