Sense of History: an unfinished draft of an undergraduate history textbook by Robert C. Binkley, 1939-40. This transcription is not yet fully corrected.

Appendix A. Conclusion

As you reach this page the evidence is in that you have had the courage to read this book, as I have had the faith to write it. Underlying these acts of courage and faith is an assumption which should be stated since it has been made. It is that the world, with all its confusion, is yet a thing of order if we can but understand it and that it is worthwhile to try to understand the order of this world. And beyond this yet another assumption, or at least a hope -- that the world, when its order is in a measure understood, is beautiful and good. Else why should we seek to comprehend it? Else why not rather seek to escape and avoid it? And the world is moreover a thing you can do something about, adjusting yourself to it greatly, changing it only minutely. And the way of history is the way of life. The perspectives of life are the perspectives of history. It is in these perspectives that we can hope to understand the order of the world and see its beauty, -- and also know what to do about it.

My generation must bear responsibility for what happens in the next few years. Then it will be your turn. And may you do a better job than we did.