Saturday, September 17, 2011

George Bancroft (1800 - 1891)

George Bancroft was the Secretary of the Navy during the administration of President James Polk. The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland was established during his service as Secretary of the Navy. Furthermore, Bancroft served as U.S. Minister to Great Britain and to Germany.

He was the author of the ten volume History of the United States. The first volume was published in 1834. The History of the United States was the first comprehensive history of America written from its beginning to the ratification of the Constitution. His history was the best known and most widely read history of the United States for over fifty years.

George Bancroft was a most proficient historian, diplomat, and educator.

The following extract is from his History of the United States:

“Puritanism had exalted the laity...For him the wonderful counsels of the Almighty had appointed a Savior; for him the laws of nature had been compelled and consulted, the heavens had opened, the earth had quaked, the Sun had veiled his face, and Christ had died and risen again.”

George Bancroft made the following statement in his address, “The Progress of Mankind” which was published in his work Literary and Historical Miscellanies:

“For the regeneration of the word it was requisite that the Divine Being should enter the abodes and hearts of men and dwell there; that a belief in Him should be received which would include all truth respecting His essence; that He should be known, not as a distant Providence of boundless power and uncertain and inactive will, but as God present in the flesh...”
“Amid the deep sorrows of humanity during the sad conflict which was protracted during centuries for the overthrow of the past and the reconstruction of society, the consciousness of an incarnate God carried peace into the bosom of humanity...”
“This doctrine once communicated to man, was not to be eradicated. It spread as widely, as swiftly, and as silently as the light, and the idea of GOD WITH US dwelt and dwells in every system of thought that can pretend to vitality; in every oppressed people, whose struggles to be free have the promise of success; in every soul that sighs for redemption.”

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