A History of Modern Political Constitutions

A History of Modern Political Constitutions

A History of Modern Political Constitutions

A History of Modern Political Constitutions

Excerpt

This book was written to meet a need felt by many setting out for the first time on the study of constitutional politics as a specialised branch of historical studies -- the need of a suitable introductory text book. It was my business and pleasure, during several years, to help students to face without undue trepidation the hazards of their first approach to political science. Here is one part at least of the fruit of my experience with them, and if I dedicated this book to any one it would be to those who, by their constant devotion in my classes and lectures, lightened the labour of preparing and presenting a complex, though entrancing, subject.

My debt to the earlier masters of constitutional history and political science -- Maitland, Dicey, Sidgwick, Lowell, Bryce, and the rest -- will be apparent to those who know anything of their writings. My book, however, is by no means a réchauffé of the books of those authors, but an attempt to present the subject, which after all, is everybody's business, in an original, readable and easily comprehensible form. The book is designed to appeal not only to those who enjoy the advantage of a teacher but also to the private student and the general reader. In any case, I hope that the select readings, the list of books for further study, and the subjects for essays at the end of each chapter will encourage further inquiry and stimulate thought.

The responsibility for any weaknesses and shortcomings in the book is wholly mine; yet I cannot refrain from recording my thanks to many friends and colleagues who have helped me in the various stages of its preparation, and especially to Professor F. R. Beasley, Dean of the Faculty of Law in the University of Western Australia, who gave me unimpeachable guidance on the working of the Australian Constitution; to Mr. J. Hampden Jackson, who put me right on several points concerning Finland; to Mr. John G. Lexa, Lecturer on Comparative Law in New York University Law School, who sent me a detailed commentary on the text of several constitutions . . .

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