THIS volume completes the series of which my "Select Charters " and "Select Documents" form the other two parts. In attempting to bring together, in an orderly and consistent presentation, the chief constitutional documents of the period from 1861 to 1898, I have followed, as far as practicable, the principles which governed in the making of the "Select Documents," and which are stated in the preface to that volume. The wealth of material and the great length of many of the documents have compelled a rigorous exclusion of whatever it seemed possible to spare. I have thought it better, however, to omit entire classes of documents -- for example, those relating to the public lands -- rather than to give a topic, however important, only a fragmentary representation. I shall hope that the volume may make easier the systematic study of the period of which it treats.
I have to express my obligations to Professor William A. Dunning of Columbia University and Professor Charles H. Hull of Cornell University for helpful advice and suggestions. To Dr. William Jones of Brown University I am indebted for the compilation of much of the data embodied in the introductory notes.