John Bach McMaster

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

McMaster, John Bach


Born June 29, 1852, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; died May 24, 1932, in Darien, Conn. American historian.

McMaster was professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania from 1883 to 1920. Influenced by positivism, he opposed the exclusive attention given by American historians to political questions. His works contain much material on the history of the everyday life, mores, and culture of the country. He expanded the sphere of problems studied, addressing himself to the history of the colonization of the west of the USA and, to some extent, to economic history.

McMaster adhered to the conservative assessments that were dominant in American bourgeois historiography. In his work, the bourgeoisie was the hero of American history. Attempting to present the historical development of the USA as an unbroken evolutionary process, he characterized the American War of Independence of 1775-83 as a “respectable” revolution and contrasted it to the “excesses” of the Great French Revolution. He played down the social contradictions in American history, especially the conflicts between labor and capital. McMaster also was famous as a master of the genre of historical biography.


A History of the People of the United States From the Revolution to the Civil War, vols. 1-8. New York, 1883-1913.
A History of the People of the United States During Lincoln’s Administration. New York-London, 1927.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.