« PreviousContinue »
To facilitate such knowledge and instruction, was the object of the writer in the following work. It is intended as a text-book for young men, either in public education or private reading. The works which have preceded it have chiefly been confined to one subject-Constitutional Jurisprudence. The plan of this is much more extensive, though in execution, it has not occupied more space. The objeet of the author was to give, not merely a view of the Constitution, but a brief and correct de lineation of the theory and operation of the government. Accordingly, he has not only given a condensed sketch of the Origin of the Constitution, Political Jurisprudence, and the Ratifications of the States; but has added a brief view of the State Constitutions, and of the Relations between the States and the Nution, and the practical operation of the General and State Governments. The latter part of this work, being nearly half,is, therefore, al most wholly original; and the rest, it is believed, has Jost nothing by being, in a great measure, free from comments, while it is accompanied by references to the highest authorities.
In preparing this work, the author has consulted many writers on national and political law; to some of whom, as will be seen by the references, he has been under special obligation. On Constitutional Jurisprudence, he has followed chiefly the outlines of Chancellor Kent, in his Lectures, Justice Story in his Commentaries, and the decisions of that great
and enlightened expositor fo the Constitution,—the Supreme Court. In the general principles and relations of the government, he has followed substantially the opinions of President Madison and Mr. Webster, the founder and the defender, as he believes, of the true system of American politics.
In conclusion, the author believes that no principle will be found here which has not the superior weight of authority in its favor,-none which in any way impairs the principles and durability of republican government,—none which was not also the faith of that illustrious band of patriots, who formed and left to other ages that greatest monument of human wisdom,—the American Constitution.
CINCINNATI, July 1834.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The first edition of this work was received by the public, and especially by those most acquainted with the subject, or engaged in professional teaching, with more of favour and commendation, than the author had anticipated. The demand for it has regularly increased, and a new edition is necessary to meet the enquiry made for it, in various, and sometimes, remote sections of the country. It has, therefore, been stereotyped, with such corrections and additions, as have been suggested to the writer, either by practical teachers, or his own observations; in particular, Washington's Farewell Address, and the Ordinance for the North-western Territory, have been added. The former seemed as inseparable from the hearts and recollections of Americans, as the Constitution itself; and contained warnings and lessons, which the experience of another generation has taught us were neither misapplied nor unnecessary. The Ordinance was Fundamental Law, embodying great principles, for the States and Territories north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi, now embracing nearly a fifth part of the white population of the United States, and soon to be increased to a far greater proportion.
Ten years since, teaching the fundamental principles of our Republican Institutions, was a thing scarcely, if at all, undertaken in our places of instruction; and the whole nation presented, what, to a philosopher, must have been the anomaly of a people undertaking to carry out organic truths and precepts, embodied in a written Constitution, without even knowing what they were. Now the scene is different. Many of our colleges and academies have commenced teaching the Constitution, as it was written, and as it has been developed in the practice of half a century. The people demand such instruction; and it is hoped that, soon it will be introduced into all schools of a high order, throughout the nation. To meet such a state of things, this work was written ; and, if it has contributed in the slightest degree to increase intelligence, or excite patriotism, the author will rejoice in the consciousness, that he has given his mite to sustain the common cause of American liberty.
CINCINNATI, October 2, 1835.