This book provides an excellent introduction to history of South America, with special attention to the 19th century. It introduces all the major heroes of South American independence in insightful detail, including Miranda, San Martin, Bolivar, O'Higgins, and Don Pedro of Brazil and provides a more thoughtful critique of the various republican factions that embroiled the continent, than some other histories.
MAP OF SOUTH AMERICA
Our schools have neglected too long to instruct our youth in the history and natural resources of the South American republics. Most of the literature on South America published in this country consists of books of travel, which, as such, are unsuitable as texts for our elementary or secondary schools. The rising generation, however, should know that near our southern limits lies a continent that has a history as interesting as that of the ancient Greeks and Romans and as entertaining as that of any nation of modern Europe. They should know that within this century these South American republics may possibly become our greatest competitors in the commerce of the world and share the prestige of demonstrating the purpose of democratic government. They should know that many of our own citizens have moved to South America and established colonies in the Amazon valley and elsewhere; and they may ask, as our country becomes more and more thickly populated, whether the surplus from North America will not go to enlarge the peoples of South America.
Careful students of the movements of population predict that, in the time to come, great nations will develop on the southern continent which will surpass any now existing in the old world. These will be our nearest neighbors; yet of their civilization, past and present, our children know practically nothing. On the other hand, the youth of South America are taught in the schools to speak our language, to understand our civilization, to appreciate our form of government, and to study our resources.
I became interested in South America when a teacher at Trinity College, Durham, where I collected most of the matter contained in South American Stories for use as illustrative material or type studies for my classes. This material has recently been rewritten, in order that teachers may have an available text to use in instructing students in the wonderful history, the interesting geography, and the strange fauna and flora of the great continent that lies to the south of us.