Modern Democracies - Vol. 2

Modern Democracies - Vol. 2

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Modern Democracies - Vol. 2

Modern Democracies - Vol. 2

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Excerpt

The chapters that here follow are not an abridgment of the full description of the constitution and government of the United States presented in my book entitled The American Commonwealth which was first published more than thirty years ago, and has been since enlarged and frequently revised. They have been written as a new and independent study of American institutions, considered as founded on democratic theories and illustrating in their practice the working out of democratic principles and tendencies. Desiring to present a general view of what popular government has achieved and has failed to achieve, I have dealt with those details only which are characteristic of democratic systems, omitting as beyond the scope of this treatise all matters, such as the structure of the Federal Government and its administrative methods, which do not bear directly upon it or illustrate its peculiar features. Neither has it been my aim in these or any other chapters to bring contemporary history up to date. It is safer not to touch, and I have carefully abstained from touching the controversial questions of the moment, questions which indeed change their aspects from month to month. My wish has been throughout the book to give the reader materials for estimating the merits and defects of each form which popular government has taken, and for this purpose events that happened ten or twenty years ago are just as profitable as those of to-day, indeed more profitable, for we can judge them by their consequences.

Though the main conclusions to which I was led when writing on the United States in 1888 seem to me to be still true, new phenomena have since appeared which throw further light on the nature of popular government, and these I

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