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Born Oct. 3, 1800, in Worcester, Massachusetts; died Jan. 17, 1891, in Washington, D. C. American political figure, diplomat, historian, and prominent representative of the romantic school of historiography.
In 1845–46, Bancroft was secretary of the navy. He participated in the planning of the expansionist war of the USA against Mexico (1846–48). From 1846 to 1849 he was minister to London, and in 1867–74, he was minister to Berlin. Between 1834 and 1874, Bancroft’s principal work, the ten-volume History of the United States, was published. Using archival documents, Bancroft was one of the first in American historiography to give elementary criticism of sources. However, he limited his inquiry to purely political problems. His work was permeated by ideas of nationalism and praise of the American political system, the making of which Bancroft linked to the religious concept of a “chosen people,” the Puritan settlers. Bancroft is known as one of the founders of the so-called early school, which was the leading one in American historiography in the first half of the 19th century.