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This book is a study of the national government of the United States. Many excellent texts have been issued upon state, city, and local government, and the presentation of these subjects in special courses gives the opportunity to devote an entire volume to the national government alone. The development of our national institutions has been discussed from many points of view : political, historical, and economic.
In discussing this theme I have endeavored to show the historical origins and the development of our national political institutions and to present an adequate picture of the actual workings of the government. But I have also attempted never to lose sight of the fact that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and its interpretation by the Supreme Court is, until altered, authoritative. The important fact is emphasized that in all phases of our national life the government is a government of law. To make this clear I have quoted freely from the opinions of the Supreme Court. There is a double advantage in so doing : the decisions of the court are authoritative, and the exact words show the process of arriving at conclusions or, in the case of minority opinions, at the reasons for dissent. This feature of the book gives it a twofold character, that of a textbook in which institutions are described and analyzed and that of a source book in which appear the actual words used by the court in expounding or limiting the powers of the government. To this end I have selected both historical cases and present problems, but rather by way of illustrating permanent principles than for the sake of discussing the merits of particular problems. It has seemed more important to explain a principle than to win a convert.
To my students of Smith College I owe a.debt of gratitude for making it possible for me to develop the method I have used. In particular I wish to express my obligation to Professor G. H. Haynes, Professor E. D. Fite, and Professor E. J. Woodhouse, who have read portions of the manuscript and proof. Acknowledgment is also due to Honorable F. H. Gillett, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who most kindly read and criticized the chapters upon "Congress at Work." But for all statements of opinion and fact I am alone responsible.
DECEMBER 1, 1919
THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF
THE UNITED STATES
tution of the
The Constitution of the United States was the work of the The Consticonvention of 1787. This convention, called for “the sole pur- United States pose of revising the Articles of the Confederation," assembled at not a revision Philadelphia, and after nearly five months of painstaking labor Confederation produced, not a revision of the Articles of Confederation but an entirely new frame of government. Although eighteen amendments have been added to this in- Few changes
from original strument, its form has been vitally altered but few times. The form first ten of these amendments, expressing the wish of a large proportion of the members of the convention and the overwhelming desire of the people, may be considered a portion of the original document. The Twelfth Amendment was adopted to remedy the dangerous defect in the process of the election of the president revealed by the elections of 1800 and, while altering the legal process, did but sanction the methods made necessary by the growth of parties. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were the result of the long struggle over slavery culminating in the Civil War and the consequent readjustments, These amendments, in addition to settling these controversies, vitally alter and change the balance between the federal and state governments as planned by the convention. The Eleventh Amendment, adopted in 1798, and the Sixteenth (1913) were caused by decisions of the Supreme Court which ran counter to popular approval and settled points which were either unconsidered or which were doubtful in the minds of the framers. The Seventeenth (1913) represents the rising strength of democracy,