Present Trends in American National Government: A Symposium

Present Trends in American National Government: A Symposium

Present Trends in American National Government: A Symposium

Present Trends in American National Government: A Symposium

Excerpt

It is difficult to resist the temptation to parcel up the past in neat bundles of ten years. It has become habit at the end of each decade to assess the major accomplishments, and to evaluate the experience just past in terms of how it has prepared us to go forward. It was in this frame of reference that the contributors to this volume were invited to analyze what they saw to be the present trends in American national government.

It may be unusual for a group of American scholars to write under the auspices of a British institution but it is not at all unnatural. In the decade since the Hansard Society last invited observations of the American governmental scene, many of its features have undergone severe political strains. The foreign observer, often without the necessary knowledge of form and detail, is unable to bring the news reported from Washington, New York or Little Rock into an ordered perspective. A recital of form and detail alone does not help him much, hence the emphasis in this volume upon analysis as over against description of institutions to which Aspects of American Government addressed itself.

It is the underlying premise of American government that it is to be "a government of laws, and not of men". In the last ten years the fabric of life of a great number of people living under that government was changed by a series of judicial decisions. A bitter and protracted controversy has raged about the content of the law and its interpretation. For this reason more than one article touching upon the analysis of these complex matters was invited. There has been no attempt to neatly interlace the work of the contributors, or to have them iron out areas of disagreement prior to printing. Such disagreements as exist are honest ones, and reflect that differences that we have as citizens of the same republic -- as much as they do the political sophistication of the analyst.

To the Chairman and Council of the Hansard Society we are all much indebted for their co-operation in this respect.

April, 1960

A. J. JUNZ.

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