New England History Teachers' Association.

A history syllabus for secondary schools, outlining the four years' course in history recommended by the committee of seven of the American historical association online

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Online LibraryNew England History Teachers' AssociationA history syllabus for secondary schools, outlining the four years' course in history recommended by the committee of seven of the American historical association → online text (page 1 of 26)
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Copyright, 1901 and 1904,


This syllabus is the work of a committee appointed by
the New England History Teachers' Association "to prepare
... a report on practical methods of teaching history, with
such topical outlines, references, and bibliographies as shall
help teachers to put into operation such suggestions for
reform in history teaching as may be applicable to the con-
ditions in the secondary schools." After the outlines had
been tested by several teachers with their classes, the report
of the committee was presented to the Association in April,
1901. The general and special introductions with ample
illustrations of the outlines were then printed and sent to
all members as a preliminary report. After this had been
tried in the schools and discussed by the Association at its
meeting in October, 1901, the report was approved and
ordered published.

The original committee which prepared the preliminary
report was composed of six members : Herbert D. Foster, of
Dartmouth College, Chairman, Bernadotte Perrin of Yale
University, Elizabeth K. Kendall of Wellesley College, Ed-
win A. Start, then of Tufts College, Ernest F. Henderson,
Walter H. Cushing, then teacher of history in the Medford
High School and now Principal of the South Framingham
High School. As the work advanced, it was found desirable,
owing to the absence in Europe or the imperative engage-
ments of several members, to enlist the cooperation of four
others : Charles H. Haskins of Harvard University, Sidney
B. Fay of Dartmouth College, Everett Kimball of Smith


4 Preface

College, and Edith M. Walker of the Somerville Latin

As the outlines progressed, they were tested in the class
room by the three members of the committee engaged in
teaching history in high schools and by a large number of
other secondary teachers ; they were also subjected to the
criticism of professors of history in eight colleges. To more
than a score of such teachers and professors who have by
their helpful suggestions aided in making this syllabus more
teachable and adequate, we make grateful acknowledgments.

The syllabus covers the four years' course in history for
schools recommended by the Committee of Seven of the
American Historical Association, and attempts to take the
next step by showing how the general recommendations
of that committee may be carried out in the daily work of
preparation and recitation. Three of the members of that
committee have directly cooperated with us. Professor Hart
has given encouragement and counsel from the start; Pro-
fessor Salmon has shared in the discussions of the com-
mittee and prepared the appendix on special collections for
historical study in American libraries (v. p. 361); Professor
Haskins has served as a member of our committee through
the later stages of its work.

We have endeavored to express the consensus of opinion
of specialists and of practical teachers in secondary schools ;
to furnish the schools with a basis for preparation for college ;
and give to such colleges as desire it, a basis for entrance
requirements. But, above all, by means of the time saved
and the clearness of view to be gained through the employ-
ment of a printed outline in the hands of teacher and pupil,
we have sought to make sane methods and the use of ade-
quate material practicable in the ordinary high school.




Spirit and purpose of the syllabus 7

The principal recommendations of the Committee of Seven . . 10

Method and use of the syllabus 12

How to use the syllabus with a text- book . . . . . 14

Practical suggestions to teachers 17

Practical aims and objects of instruction in each course . . 18

How to occupy the time in class .21

Preparation for class exercises . 24

Historical geography and map work 27

Historical fiction 28

Development of interest in history ...... 29

The training of the teacher -3°

Method and arrangement of the outlines ...... 30

Books on the teaching of history useful for secondary teachers . 34



Introduction 39

Bibliographical notes and suggestions ...... 46

A small school library in Ancient History . , . . . 57

General survey of the field (with per cent of exercises for each section) 59

Outline of Ancient History .64


800-1900 A.D.

Introduction . . . . 117

A small school library in European History, costing about $25 . 129



Select list of books referred to in this outline and adapted for a

town or large school library 131

General survey of the field (with per cent of exercises for each section) 142
Outline of Medieval and Modern European History . .147



Introduction 211

A small school library in English History, costing about $25 . .221
Select list of books referred to in this outline and adapted for a

town or large school library 223

General survey of the field (with per cent of exercises for each section) 230
Outline of English History 232


TO 1904 A.D.

Introduction 269

A small school library in American History, costing about $25 . . 279
Select list of books referred to in this outline and adapted for a

town or large school library . . . . . . .281

General survey of the field (with per cent of exercises for each section) 290
Outline of American History 293

Appendix : Special collections for historical study in American

libraries 361




Active thought and experimentation with material
and methods during several years in the field of history
teaching have opened a maze of possibilities which need
to be formulated and organized in order that the best
results of the experience of many teachers may be
made tangible and brought into general use in second-
ary schools. This volume, with separate pamphlets
for pupils, issued under the auspices of an association
of history teachers, is intended to meet this need. It is
not offered as a final word, but must be subject to
revision from time to time as new stages of the inevitable
progress in history teaching are attained. Its merit is
not in its originality, but in the fact that it gives a
definite application of the work of previous committees
of this and other associations, and in particular of the
recommendations of the New England Associations
of Colleges and Preparatory Schools (1895), of the


S History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

Columbia -Conference of 1896, and of the Committee of
Seven of the American Historical Association. It has
been prepared with the cooperation of many teachers.

A large amount of valuable work has been done by
history teachers in the study of actual conditions and
the putting forth of tentative theories and suggestions,
and many practical results have been attained. If,
then, we organize these results in a working plan, shall
we not be so much nearer the attainment of the benefi-
cent purpose contemplated when the new entrance re-
quirements were first proposed, and so much nearer a
sympathetic organization of the study of history in our
schools, not according to a rigid system, but in harmony
with a comprehensible idea, — namely, the development
of the historic understanding in the young people who
attend those schools ?

The working material of this guide is embodied in a
syllabus for each of the four courses recommended by
the Committee of Seven ; this syllabus being accom-
panied by some additional topics for individual and
more detailed work by the pupil, and by carefully
selected references to elementary, fuller, and source
materials. This syllabus is intended to be used as an
outline guide by both teacher and pupil, and as a
guide in the preparation of examination papers by
the colleges. It is hoped that the colleges will con-
sent to include in their questions each year a cer-
tain number of the various topics in the syllabus,
thus securing for the schools some of the advantage
accompanying work with a practical incentive. In
the introduction, and occasionally in the outlines, are

General Introduction 9

practical suggestions, the intent of which has been to put
in the hands of each teacher the tested results of the
best experience of many, and make specific applications
at definite points of the recommendations of the Com-
mittee of Seven and others. On the other hand, it is
not intended to prescribe any uniform system or to
trespass in any way upon the prerogatives of the indi-
vidual teacher. We do not want uniformity of teach-
ing, but we do need uniformity of courses and a
common policy in accord with the best methods of
our day.

The object to be kept constantly in mind is the indi-
cation of a practical course that will meet the new col-
lege entrance requirements ; the development at the
same time of courses that may be pursued with equal
profit by the student who is not to have the advantage
of a college course ; and finally, the definite formulation
on a working basis of the fair demands of the teachers
of history for the recognition of the subject in the

Colleges which may so desire will be enabled to refer
teachers and candidates to the syllabus for a fuller
statement of their entrance requirements or for specific
illustrations of desired methods and materials. They
may also find it convenient and helpful to both college
and school to base at least a part of the entrance exami-
nation paper on the sections, topics, sub-topics, map
work, etc., of the various outlines. The schools will
find it helpful, in addition to the ordinary use of the out-
line in any course, to make especial use of it either in
reviewing for college entrance examinations, or in test-

io History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

ing the fitness of candidates preparing under the certifi-
cate system. The syllabus is definitely planned to meet
also the needs of pupils not preparing for college. It
will also show the reasonableness of demands for ade-
quate equipment and time.


Because of the weight attaching to the opinions of
the authors of the report of the Committee of Seven
of the American Historical Association, and the long
and careful study given by them to the question of
history in secondary schools, the present volume is
in a sense an illustration, elucidation, and practical
application of that invaluable report. The principal
recommendations which are accepted and followed in
this syllabus are briefly summarized below.

History should be a continuous study over a period
of four years, and, except in rare cases, should be given
at least three periods a week. "The acceptance of a
two-hour course in history for entrance to college" is
not approved. For the four-year course the following
periods in the order here given are recommended : —

(i) Ancient History, with special reference to Greek
and Roman history, but including a short survey of the
more ancient nations and closing about 800 a.d.

(2) Mediaeval and Modern European History, from
the close of the first period to the present time.

(3) English History.

(4) American History and Civil Government.

General Introduction 1 1

If only three years can be given to historical work,
an omission of one of the fields is better than a conden-
sation of the whole. If, however, it is necessary to
combine two years' work into one, the committee advises
either (i) combine English and American, or (2) teach
English History so as to include the more important
features of mediaeval and modern European history.
The committee cannot, however, strongly recommend
courses covering the whole field in less than four years.

With reference to methods of instruction, the Com-
mittee of Seven offers the following general sugges-
tions : — .

(1) The teacher in most cases should use a text-book,
as the topical method alone will, in a majority of cases,
result in the pupils having unconnected information.

(2) Material outside the text-book should be used in
all branches and in all years of historical study.

(3) Something in the way of written work should be
done in every year, but teachers should take care not
to make the work too difficult in the earlier years.

(4) Written recitations are helpful, and often stimu-
late a pupil who is slow in the oral part of the work.

(5) Note-books should be kept containing analyses
of the text-book, notes from talks in class and from
private reading, and analyses of topics continuing
through a considerable portion of the field.

(6) Geography and History should be closely con-
nected throughout the course.

Sources should serve as an adjunct to a good text-
book, to be used as part of the collateral reading and as
a basis for written work : but the so-called " source

12 History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

method " of teaching is not approved. In selecting
sources to vitalize the subject, they should, in the first
place, be of unquestioned authenticity ; secondly, should
be, not so much documents, as the more interesting
material for pupils of this age, such as letters, diaries,
travels, etc. ; third, should have a literary value.

For admission to college it is recommended that one
unit of history be required in every case ; and that two,
three, or four units be accepted wherever the plan of
optional admission subjects will permit. By "unit"
is meant either one year of history five times a week,
or two years of history three times a week. As tests
of the candidate's power, it is suggested that there be
questions requiring the grouping of facts in a different
form from that in the text-book, and questions involving
some power of discrimination. Comments on brief,
carefully chosen selections from simple sources and
modern works, and discussion of more extended pas-
sages, are also recommended as tests of the development
of the pupil's historical sense. Finally, the candidate's
written test may be supplemented by the submission of
work done in school and properly vouched for, and by
a brief oral conference with an examiner.


The syllabus does not replace the text-book, but
presupposes its use. It does not attempt, therefore, to
cover all the facts in any course in history, but to (i)
point out what subjects are worthy of especial study,
(2) indicate in what connection these may be taken up,

General Introduction 13

and (3) give a few carefully selected specific topics and
references for additional reading, map and written work,
which will supplement the text-book, train pupils in
gathering and presenting material, and make some
vital contribution to the daily recitation.

To accomplish this, the syllabus for each course
contains a general survey of the field, or table of
contents, which divides the field into chronological
periods and logically related sections, giving within brief
space a clear suggestion to both teacher and pupil of
what is to be studied and permanently retained, and a
basis for the pupil's review of the whole subject and
for school and college entrance examination questions.
The detailed syllabus follows this general survey. An
explanation of its structure is given at the end of this
introduction. The references are usually specific for
each section and sometimes for each topic, and when
feasible are classified as brief, longer, and sources. They
are few, and selected with diligent care because of their
real contribution to the interest and apprehension of
the subject. A sufficient variety of references is given
to meet the needs of the smaller as well as the larger
library. The number of references to be used will be
at the discretion of the teacher, and will vary with time,
number of pupils, and extent of library. It is not in-
tended, however, that every reference should be read
in any one year. It is always desirable to recognize
the preferences and methods of various teachers, and
of pupils with varying tastes and needs. There will
also be found topics for map work and charts for
pupils; and subjects for special maps or charts, either

14 History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

on blackboard, or outline maps large enough to be seen
by all pupils, thus making ocular contribution to the
work of the class room {e.g. Seceding States, 1861.
Colonial Possessions of Philip II, 1580).

For the recitations devoted to one of the sections, the
topics will serve ( 1 ) as points upon which the pupil will
endeavor to get information; (2) in the class room to
keep the pupil's mind active rather than passive, as he
tries to gain additional information from others' recita-
tions and from reports on additional reading; (3) for
the pupil's preparation of daily review; and (4) as a
basis for the teacher's rapid fire of questions on daily
review. These topics will further serve as material for
general review by the pupil, for questions by the
teacher at the end of the course, and for examination
in school and college.


General Explanation. — The syllabus throughout pre-
supposes the use of an accurate, modern text-book.
The topics are selected because of their significance,
the stimulating material available, their adaptability for
getting pupils to reading, thinking, and writing, " and
in general for the exercise of judgment as well as of
memory," and in some cases, particularly in European
history, as giving an analysis of the subject. In Ameri-
can history, such a topic as " The Naming of America "
is well treated in both Channing's " Students' History"
and McLaughlin's " History of the American Nation."

General Introduction 15

Voyages of the Northmen and early geographical ideas
are adequately treated in Channing, pp. 22-28 ; and the
European conditions at end of fifteenth century are dis-
cussed suggestively in McLaughlin, pp. 6-10. But the
latter topic is not treated at all in Channing, while
McLaughlin gives no account of the " Land and its
Resources." This illustrates the necessity of supple-
menting even such excellent text-books, on certain
topics, and the needlessness of attempting to insist
in these outlines on what is adequately treated in good

The Daily Work. — For a given recitation, the teacher
assigns so much of the outline as he may judge wise,
following, if he chooses, the assignment of time sug-
gested in the General Survey. For this portion of the
subject he assigns to all pupils pertinent parts of the
text-book, and to certain pupils some of the special
topics and references in this syllabus for additional
reading and report to the class. Some topics are
marked as for all the class {e.g. some map work
and topics on civil government), and should be so
assigned. Some other topics teachers may prefer to
assign to all, or to several, pupils for general discussion,
rather than for special report by individual pupils. In
such matters of detail, the syllabus undertakes to make
no prescription. The aim has been to present an out-
line of the material to be handled, in such form that
teachers may adapt the management of it to the meth-
ods most congenial to them.

The recitation may follow the order suggested in
this syllabus, or that in the text-book, in either case

1 6 History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

including in their logical place the especially assigned

i. If the syllabus is followed, the pupils have before
their eyes a brief outline of the subject. Teachers who
prefer a fuller analysis, explaining the syllabus, may
put one on the board in some such form as may
commend itself to them for graphic clearness (in some
cases the syllabus gives a partial analysis): —

2. If the text-book or other order is followed, it will
be helpful to have some clear plan before the eyes of
the pupils, so that they may see the logical relations of
matters under discussion. Such outline should include,
not only text-book work, but the special topics.

Whatever the method used, the essential objects must
always be that pupils keep their bearings, that they
see what connection any discussion or report on a topic
has with the main current of events as studied in the
text-book, and that they get some definite and perma-
nent result from each topic discussed. This should be
tested on review. A good way to insure more satisfac-
tory treatment of a topic is to assign it to several, and
then select the best for presentation. It is not neces-
sary that topics should always be written or formally
presented by a pupil. If presented, some " brief" or
set of headings for his topics should be prepared by the
pupil, and, if feasible, looked over by the teacher before
report is presented to class.

Where the number of pupils is large, different refer-
ences may be assigned to different pupils, and the strik-
ing points or the differences referred to in each brought
out very briefly by questions without a complete report

General Introduction 17

from each one. It is not intended that all the references
should be taken. Sometimes teachers should assign,
sometimes allow pupils to select, the reference. En-
courage the pupil, if time allows, to compare and select
as the course proceeds and he gains experience and
judgment. It is believed that a school with a hundred
recitations for advance can do something with all or
nearly all the topics. Schools with less time must omit
what seem less vital. Schools with two hundred recita-
tions will find ample material for spending time profit-
ably in the additional references and additional topics.
The syllabus is planned to meet the situation in schools
with varying amounts of time by thus providing an
average amount which the hurried teacher can lessen,
but with additional subject matter for the better schools.


In General. — The suggestions embodied in this sec-
tion are drawn for the most part from practical experi-
ence, but it is impossible to prescribe any hard and fast
rules for different teachers. When teachers can find or
invent better methods, they should certainly do so; the
mere fact that the teacher's mind is busied with such
problems will augur well for the success of the course.
On one thing the committee does wish to lay stress;
namely, on the fact that history, because of the broad
field that it covers, is the most difficult of all subjects to
teach, and that there is the greatest need of special
training for the purpose. Not only should the teacher
be well equipped in the beginning, but he should make

1 8 History Syllabus for Secondary Schools

up his mind each year to do at least as much reading as
he requires of his classes. He will soon discover that
this is not drudgery, but the keenest sort of intellectual
enjoyment;* he will be on the lookout for new and inter-
esting literature, and his own progress will be as much a
matter of satisfaction to him as that of his pupils. His
remarks to the class will grow freer and more indepen-
dent every year, and he will finally gain that sense of
proportion and perspective, that historical judgment,
without which no one can be called a really good

It is not expected or desired that all the devices here
enumerated should be applied in each of the four years
of the school course in history. Methods that can be
pursued with advantage in the case of American History,
and with boys and girls seventeen years of age, need not
necessarily be applied to boys and girls of thirteen who
are studying Ancient History.

Practical Aims and Objects of Instruction. — These dif-
fer according to the branch of history to be taught and
Ancient the age of the scholar. They are more fully
History. se t forth in the special introductions to the

Online LibraryNew England History Teachers' AssociationA history syllabus for secondary schools, outlining the four years' course in history recommended by the committee of seven of the American historical association → online text (page 1 of 26)