When it comes to American History, there is one name that stands out above all others – George Bancroft. Born on October 3, 1800, in Worcester, Massachusetts, George Bancroft was an American historian who wrote extensively on the history of the United States. He is considered by many to be the “Father of American History” due to his significant contributions to the field.
Early Life and Education
George Bancroft was the third son of Aaron Bancroft, a prominent Unitarian minister. From a young age, Bancroft showed an interest in politics and history. He attended Harvard University, where he studied under renowned historian and political theorist John Quincy Adams.
Career as a Historian
After graduating from Harvard in 1817, Bancroft continued his studies in Germany, where he became interested in European history and philosophy. In 1820, he returned to the United States and began writing a series of articles on American history for various newspapers.
In 1834, Bancroft published his first major work, a six-volume history of the United States titled “History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent.” The book was well-received and established Bancroft as one of America’s leading historians.
Over the next several decades, Bancroft continued to write extensively on American history. He published numerous books and articles on topics such as colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Civil War.
Bancroft’s contributions to American History were significant. He helped establish history as a legitimate academic discipline in America at a time when it was still considered a hobby for amateurs. His work also helped shape Americans’ understanding of their own national identity.
In addition to his work as an historian, Bancroft was also involved in politics. He served as Secretary of the Navy under President James K. Polk and as U.S. Minister to Great Britain under President Andrew Jackson.
George Bancroft died on January 17, 1891, at the age of 90. He left behind a legacy that continues to inspire historians and scholars today.
In conclusion, George Bancroft is considered the “Father of American History” due to his significant contributions to the field. His work helped establish history as a legitimate academic discipline in America and shaped Americans’ understanding of their own national identity. While he may not be a household name today, his impact on American History cannot be overstated.