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

Note to Teachers


This draft of a prefatory statement was found in a notebook and was not included in the folder of typed pages marked "done." FB

A few words of explanation are due to my colleagues who share with me the responsibility for giving to the youth of this country some perspective in which to see the world. These students come to a course in modern history with the most varied equipment in historical knowledge. There is much that must be taught which it seems to be impossible to teach without teaching back beyond any fixed period of years. Yet the proportioning of attention and study which devotes a year to the account of what has happened since Napoleon is a legitimate proportioning. In this book I have reached back into the past as far as seemed necessary in order to bring into perspective each of the meanings in history which I have thought it worth while to develop. But those portions of the book which carry the reader into the more remote centuries have been planned to put all the readers on an equal footing. Those who have studied the general European history course will find very little that simply recapitulates what they have learned elsewhere, and those who come to the study of modern history with little knowledge of the earlier past will not, I hope, find these parts difficult to understand.

I have tried, moreover, to work into the fabric of the book as much as I could of the teachings of the array of social sciences which have shared with history the enterprise of trying to understand mankind.