A Topical Outline of General History

A Topical Outline of General History

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Excerpt from A Topical Outline of General History: Designed as a Guide to the General Reader and for Review Work in Schools

This little volume is designed to be an aid to teachers and students of General History, by presenting in a compact form the most important facts in the history of the great nations of the earth. It is not intended to be a text-book of history on the one hand; nor a mere list of topics on the other. It is an attempt to present a minimum of what ought to be retained by a High School pupil, or by a general reader; arranged in a form convenient for memorizing. No student will learn much history by memorizing this book alone; but it contains little that a student can afford not to know. It is based on no particular book; and may be used with profit without any text-book, if one has a good reference library to use in connection. It was primarily intended for review work.

Few dates are required to be memorized; but the author believes that they will be found sufficient for practical use. For common use, it is enough to be able to place a date in its proper century; or in the beginning, middle, or latter part of a century. Other dates are best retained by association; as about the time of some other more important event. For instance, the exact date of the First Persian Invasion should suggest the date of the Second, without any special effort to fix the year.

All memory is more or less associative, and the skillful teacher will seek to multiply associations, and to train his pupils to use one fact to suggest another.

Certain topics are inserted more for their literary interest than for their historic value. Such things belong to a general education; and are often exceedingly useful in setting facts in a more pleasing light.

For obvious reasons the history of England and France is treated more fully than that of other nations. The history of the United States is not given except as connected with other peoples; because the book is intended for those who have finished the history of their own country. The too common fault of giving more space to Ancient than to Modern history has been avoided.

The great events of the several centuries should be most carefully learned. The student should be able to place these in their proper centuries instantly and almost mechanically. Minor events will naturally group themselves about these more important matters. The lists of places and persons may be made to serve as a double review.

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