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The analytic method of this work furnishes its chief claim to superiority over others as a text-book on civil government. The Constitution of the United States is our fundamental law. To understand this well is to understand the whole theory; and to analyze this is to analyze the entire American system.
The principal aim, therefore, of this work is to present analytically the subject of civil government as administered in this country.
The living, earnest teacher of to-day insists on a critical analysis of whatever subject he brings into the class-room. This has been the tendency of his profession for several years. A general acquaintance with miscellaneous and scattered facts bearing on his subject does not satisfy. He must get inside of things, and take his pupil with him.
No work has been published, known to the author, pretending to give a topical and tabular arrangement of the principles of our government.
Several authors have written with ability on civil government, having direct reference to the wants of the schoolroom; but they have not satisfied the instructor. Whether the present attempt shall add one more to the list of failures, time and the teacher will tell.
The Constitution of the United States consists of a combination of powers granted and powers prohibited. Each of these classes of powers is divisible into general topics
under general titles. Each of these is subdivisible into
1. How composed.
4. By whom chosen.
6. How classed.
10. Senate powers.
4. Term of office.
5. By whom chosen
The executive and judicial branches are each divisible and subdivisible into topics, the same as the legislative
branch. The sub-titles at the extreme right, or several of them, may be divided also. Take, for instance, ELIGIBILI
Its conditions are, 1st, Age ; 2d, Citizenship; 3d, Inhabitancy; 4th, Official Disencumbrance. Also SENATE POWERS: 1st, Legislative; 2d, Executive; 3d, Elective; 4th, Judicial.
Thus all the elements of kindred significance are grouped together in one table, under one common and appropriate title. For this purpose, paragraphs, sections, and clauses, whenever necessary, are severed from their original connections in the Constitution. Indeed, very little attention is paid to the original arrangement of the subjects of that document. The preceding example will give the teacher an idea of the manner in which lessons may be given by topics.
Exhaustively grouping the sections and clauses of the Constitution itself must necessarily make thorough work at every step. Every element of the main subject, even to critical minuteness, will be clearly comprehended by the pupil. He will experience the scholarly satisfaction also, that something is completed every lesson.
In the tabular arrangement of the sections and clauses of the Constitution, nothing is omitted or added ; and, as far as possible, the precise language of that instrument is retained.
Familiar and critical explanations of the Analysis, topic by topic, in the order of their arrangement, are given according to the views of the most eminent writers on constitutional law. Very little or no claim is laid by the author to originality of construction. In this, he acknowledges his entire indebtedness to the illustrious men who formed the Constitution, as their views appear in the Madison Papers and the Federalist; and to the profound
jurists whose works are accepted by the legal profession as of the highest authority.
For several years, there has been a growing conviction among educators, that civil government should be added to the list of studies in all our schools of the higher grades, and in the advanced classes of the common school.
The school-boy of to-day becomes the voter of to-morrow. Tlre millions of youth now in the schools of America are soon to decide all the grave questions of national interest which concern us as a people. The ballot more than the bullet must determine the destiny of our country.
The ballot in the hands of the ignorant may do more mischief than the torch of the incendiary in the towers of the metropolis.
If the publication of this work shall contribute to a more extended acquaintance by the masses of American youth with the fundamental principles of our government, the purpose for which it was written wiil be realized.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., October, 1868.
BY REV. JAMES E. LATIMER, D.D.
In these days, a new book can vindicate its claims to public notice and favor only on the ground that the topics of which it treats are absolutely new, or that it discusses a known subject in such a manner as to make us instantly feel that it meets an acknowledged want.
Such is the claim we make for the book before us. It treats a common subject, - one that was ably presented by the distinguished Judge Story, some thirty years since, in convenient form for the use of schools, and, since, by several authors of less distinction, though of acknowledged ability. But the peculiar merit of our author consists in the analytical method which he adopts. His aim is purely didactic, and to teach exactly what the Constitution contains.
This book is one that was not made, but grew. Prof. Townsend, the author, has for years made civil government a speciality in lessons and lectures before the teachers' institutes of New York. What was small and unpretending in the beginning has thus grown into importance on his hands, until it has become the full, well-rounded treatise which is here presented.
He has been urged to the preparation and publication of this work by the myriad voices of educators and teachers who have listened to liis instructive lessons upon a subject which is usually so dry and repulsive.