This little book is intended to be a text-book. It does not incorporate the results of any special studies or particular researches. It has been written with no other thought than that of possibly being helpful to American college and university students. More particularly, it is offered to American undergraduates who, in most cases, will have had some formal instruction in respect of the American Constitutional System. If, by chance, the general reader anywhere or the non-American student should find the little volume either interesting or instructive, the result would be pleasant surprise.
Presumably, all American college and university students and teachers of political science are in some degree troubled by the problem of method. The question of emphasis in respect of "fact" and principle is, apparently, ever with us. Little help is to be found in the platitude that both are important. The real problem is to ascertain the best combination. The solution offered here pretends to no finality. It would be a miracle if many teachers should not discover fault to find. The contents of the volume are based merely on the experience of one teacher. They are based on what that experience has suggested undergraduates ought to be told and on what that teacher's memory suggests he wishes he had been told, when he was an undergraduate.
The assumption is made here that, in American education, a shift of emphasis ought to take place when a student has left school and entered a college or university. The division may be arbitrary, but it ought to be made somewhere. The shift of emphasis involves a distinction which cannot be rendered banal through familiarity,--the distinction between "learning" and "understanding." College and university students ought, without neglecting the former, to place their primary emphasis on the latter. The present volume attempts to apply that assumption. College and university students who have studied Ameri