CHAPTER I THE STUDY OF ENGLISH GOVERNMENT

The yokel who was, on first acquaintance, contemptuous of Shakespeare, because, as he said, Shakespeare had merely strung together things that people have been hearing all their lives, suggests to the American student of English government a warning and a point of view. The warning is a warning to the effect that familiarity ought not necessarily to breed contempt. The point of view is one based on the simple proposition that failure to think things in their proper order, chronological or otherwise, leads easily to confusion in thinking.

The American student of government who comes for the first time to the study of English government will almost certainly be struck by many resemblances between his own government and that of England. Many of them involve things he has known all his life. He will also encounter many dissimilarities. Which of the two he will find more striking and interesting is likely to be largely a matter of temperament. Some people who are faced with the opportunities for comparison that inevitably face everyone find a certain real pleasure in observing differences. To them variety seems to be the spice of life. Other people undoubtedly derive genuine satisfaction from viewing things in such a way that general similarities manifest themselves. The order and the unity of things are to such persons greatly impressive. In reality, such a classification of people is, as is so often the case with classifications, an over-simplification. No person sees nothing but likenesses or nothing but differences. Both tendencies will doubtless be found in all persons intellectually awake. It is merely that one tendency appears to be more pronounced in some people, the other in others. If the question should be raised of which tendency ought, without disregard for the other, principally

-3-

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