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AMERI ( AN STATES \| A N:
ORIGIN, NATURE AND PRACTICAL OPERATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL
THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF PARTIES;
VIEWS OF DISTINGUISHED STATESMEN ON QUESTIONS OF FOREIGN
NEW YORK :
- Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
In the Clerk’s Office of the Distriet Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York.
- John J. REED, STEReotyper AND PRINTER, 16 Spruce Street, N.Y.
THE general diffusion of political knowledge is essential to public prosperity, and to the security of our liberties. A government, whatever its form, is not really free, when its theory and practical operation are not understood by the great body of those from whom its powers are derived. Universal suffrage is valuable only as its exercise is directed by an enlightened public sentiment. While these propositions are universally acknowledged as self-evident truths, it must be confessed, that the knowledge (four government is too limited to secure the uninterrupted enjoyment of the benefits of good administration. A large portion of our citizens assume the duties and responsibilities of freemen, without the information requisite to a faithful discharge of these vast responsibilities devolved upon them by the constitution and laws. Many of them, ambitious of civil honors, accept important public trusts, with attainments in political science too circumscribed to enable them to render efficient service to the state, or to gain to themselves an honorable distinction. In the character and acts of many of our legislative bodies, does the truth of this remark find abundant confirmation. The design of this work is to bring within the reach of our citizens generally, in a single volume, the greatest possible amount of that kind of information which all ought to possess; but which is to be obtained elsewhere only in works so voluminous and expensive as to render it inaccessible to the greater portion of the community. A prominent and essential feature of the work is, that on all Controverted questions, whether involving constitutional prin