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3rd October 2017 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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George Bancroft (October 3, 1800 – January 17, 1891) was an American historian and statesman who was prominent in promoting secondary education both in his home state, at the national and international level.

He earned the epithet 'the father of U.S. History' from the publication of his 1834 volume the 'History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent' which would appear over the next four decades (1834-74). This was the first comprehensive study of U.S. history.

The full text of History of the United States of America can be found here.

During his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Navy, he established the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845.

In 1846 he was sent as minister plenipotentiary to London to work with the British government on this issue. There he roomed with the historian Macaulay and the poet Hallam.

In April 1864, at Bancroft's request, President Lincoln wrote out what would become the fourth of five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address. Mr. Bancroft planned to include this copy in Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors, which he planned to sell at a Soldiers' and Sailors' Sanitary Fair in Baltimore to raise money to care for the Union military forces.

Bancroft was an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1866, he was chosen by Congress to deliver the special eulogy on Lincoln. In 1867 he was appointed as diplomatic minister to Berlin, where he remained until his resignation in 1874.

In his later years Bancroft lived in Washington, D.C., summering at Rose Cliff, Newport, Rhode Island.

His last official achievements are considered the greatest. In the San Juan arbitration he displayed great versatility and skill, winning his case before the Mexican emperor. The naturalisation treaties, named the "Bancroft Treaties" in his honour, which he negotiated successively with Prussia and the other north German states, were the first international recognition of the right of expatriation. This principle has since incorporated in the law of nations. He died in 1891.

"Truth is not exciting enough to those who depend on the characters and lives of their neighbours for all their amusement."

George Bancroft


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