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About Story of the Great Republic

Story of the Great Republic; the Beginning of the United States, by H. A. Gurerber, was published by the American Book Company in 1899. The images have all been taken from the original book.

What makes this textbook interesting reading is the way it presents American History up to 1899. A new century was on the horizon. World War I was still over a decade away and the Wright brothers’ first flight wouldn’t happen for another four years. Many school children had living Grandparents who had fought in the Civil war.

There is a natural tendency to romanticize the time period and cast it with the impression that it was a simpler time. In some ways it was simpler because there was no television or radio that carried news from around the world. Newspapers were the only source for current events and even then there was a lag time between the time a news event happened and before the public was made aware of important news. Perhaps that is one reason we now view the time period as a slower paced period in our history.

In contrasting the life of the late 1800’s to today health issues are often overlooked. Pneumonia and tuberculosis killed hundreds and thousands of people. Today diseases that used to kill people are now treated with antibiotics.

It might have been a simpler time, but people haven’t changed much since then. There is still prejudice, wars, conflicts, and the desire to be a better nation.