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Explanations and Acknowledgments.
The effort of this book is to present in as convenient form as possible a summary of the more important provisions of the state constitutions of the United States and to accompany this summary with some of the suggestions that have been made by publicists for governmental improvement. Its object is to provide a manual for the use of those people, especially Tennesseans, who are interested in revising the constitution of their state to the end that it may be brought more nearly in accord with the state's needs and with the progressive democratic ideas that are found elsewhere in current practice and in the writings of students of political science.
With this end in view, after briefly outlining in Part I the provisions of the early constitutions under which Tennessee lived and the alterations that have since been made in them, the general contents of the state constitutions will be set forth topi. cally in such detail as space will permit. Incidentally, the reasons, historical and otherwise, for particular results will often be given; also arguments for and against particular measures mentioned. As to the latter, however, it should be remembered that a clear statement of what a proposition really is will usually be found to be the best argument both for and against it. Free quotation from the writings of others is consonant with and essential to the present aim, but the personal views of the writer, except in the final chapter, will be kept in the background. No brief is held elsewhere for or against any of the proposed amelioratives.
In regard to the numerous so-called radical proposals of the day, says President Butler,
the sound and proper policy appears to be for a college or university to see to it that its students receive information and instruction on all of these subjects, and on similar matters that interest large groups of people, from its own responsible officers of instruction.
Annual Report of the President of Columbia University to the Trustees Nov. 1, 1915, p. 23.
In attempting to make clear the meaning of reform proposals without either advocating or opposing them, this book takes a similar attitude. Effort has been made to exclude from its pages everything of a propagandist nature.
While a considerable amount of more or less original investigation has been necessary in its preparation, the hope for the book's usefulness and not the claim of any originality is here expressed. Necessarily many of the pages are little more than dry catalogues of facts, though effort has been made to relegate to the foot notes as much as possible of this sort of material. Readers should make use of the table of contents and omit portions in which they are not interested. It should be remembered also that the book is intended to be a study of the provisions of the constitutions and that they are themselves arid reading. The subjects of the chapters of Part II were chosen with a view to presenting discussions of the proposals for governmental change that are most prominent in the public mind at the present day.
The constitutions vary greatly. What is expressed in one may by others be left to statutory enactment or may be accomplished by interpreting together two or more clauses that do not in themselves suggest it; furthermore, what is clearly in the constitution of one state may be read into the constitution of another by the courts. The text of the constitution, therefore, furnishes only imperfect indication of a state's governmental development.
Indebtedness for the assistance of numerous friends is gratefully acknowledged.
First of all should be mentioned Mr. T. I. Parkinson of the legislative drafting department of Columbia University for the loan of a copy of the invaluable Index Digest of State Constitutions prepared by his department for the use of the recent New York constitutional convention. It is a monumental work of more than 1,500 large octavo pages and it arranges the contents of the state constitutions under 405 heads and many hundreds of subheads; without it the present book could scarcely have been undertaken. A copy of the Digest of State Constitutions, prepared for the Ohio convention of 1912, was furnished with his compliments by State Librarian J. H. Newman, as were also copies of their respective constitutions by the secretaries of state of most of the commonwealths. Correspondents residing in every portion of Tennessee have responded courteously to questions concerning the present tendencies of public opinion in the state in regard to constitutional matters. Dean Charles W. Turner and Dr. J. R. Neal, of the University of Tennessee Law School, Dr. T. W. Glocker of the economics department of the University of Tennessee, Mr. Malcolm McDermott of the Knoxville Bar, and Dr. St. George L. Sioussat, of Vanderbilt University, have very kindly read portions of the manuscript and offered valuable suggestions. Mr. Robert Eugene Cushman, of the Political Science Faculty of the University of Illinois, has not only made possible for the writer the use of the library and other facilities of that University, but has been tireless in his help toward putting in final shape almost every portion of the book. Finally to the writer's mother is due his gratitude for a great deal of incidental assistance, to his father for much helpful criticism, and, most of all, to his sister, Marguerite McClure, for constant and indispensable helpfulness at every stage of the work.