|About the Book|
In the 1840s and 50s, political upheavals and threats of secession engendereddeep divisions in the United States. Eye-witness reports from these troubledtimes help you develop your own view of this critical period in American historyas you readMoreIn the 1840s and 50s, political upheavals and threats of secession engendereddeep divisions in the United States. Eye-witness reports from these troubledtimes help you develop your own view of this critical period in American historyas you read the words of James K Polk, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and AbrahamLincoln. This volume begins with accounts from political and militaryparticipants in the Oregon boundary dispute and the war with Mexico, whichresulted in the annexation of California. Brigham Roberts, official historian ofthe Church of Latter-Day Saints, describes the Mormon exodus to Utah- a forty-niner recalls the hardships of the California gold rush- and Commodore Perrytells of his treaty with Japan. Read John Brown’s final speech and letters-Lincolns famous oration A house divided ... and accounts of his nominationfor the Presidency- and Jefferson Daviss farewell address to the Senate andinaugural address as Confederate President.Introduction To The SeriesAfter youve heard two eyewitness accounts of an auto accident, you begin toworry about history. This observation, attributed to the comedian HennyYoungman, summarizes the dilemma you face when you want to find out what reallyhappened in the past. When you read a history book, the facts are actually theauthors own interpretation, often colored by a conscious or unconscious wish tohave you share a particular point of view. Youre one step (or many steps)removed from the original source material.Thats why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States compiled this 12-volume collection of writings of people who actually witnessed the key events inAmerican history - the actual actors in the events or contemporary observers ofthem. Past historians have spent decades locating, studying and consulting vastamounts of material such as this. This meticulously chosen selection brings youthe essence of history as originally recorded by those who participated in it.Youll be reading mostly eye-witness accounts, by people contemporary with theevents they describe, including many significant historical figures themselves.So you can make your own assessments, draw your own conclusions and gain anunderstanding of past events undistorted by the prejudices, assumptions andselectivity of professional historians. In some instances where there arentreliable or easily accessible eye-witness accounts, the compilers have chosenextracts from objective, authoritative historians of past generations such asFrancis Parkman whose judgements have stood the test of time. Through theseaccounts, your knowledge of American history will be immeasurably greater, yourunderstanding of the key events in the building of the nation immenselyincreased.Founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is anonprofit organization dedicated to foster camaderie among United Statesveterans of overseas conflicts, from the Spanish-American War to Iraq andAfghanistan, and to ensure that they receive due respect and entitlements forthe sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of the nation. Withthis mission, the VFW has a natural desire to encourage a broad understandingand appreciation of American history, and this essential collection ofhistorical documents makes a huge contribution to that aim.