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As the introductory chapter of this work contains such explanations as seem needed of its scope and plan, the Author has little to do in this place except express his thanks to the numerous friends who have helped him with facts, opinions, and criticisms, or by the gift of books or pamphlets. Among these he is especially indebted to the Hon. Thomas M. Cooley, now Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington; Mr. James B. Thayer of the Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass.; Hon. Seth Low, formerly Mayor of Brooklyn; Mr. E. L. Godkin of New York; Mr. Theodore Roosevelt of New York; Mr. G. Bradford of Cambridge, Mass.; and Mr. Theodore Bacon of Rochester, N.Y.; by one or other of whom the greater part of the proofs of these volumes have been read. He has also received valuable aid from Mr. Justice Holmes of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ; Mr. Theodore Dwight, late Librarian of the State Department at Washington; Mr. H. Villard of New York; Dr. Albert Shaw of Minneapolis; Mr. Jesse Macy of Grinnell, Ia.; Mr. Simeon Baldwin and Dr. George P. Fisher of New Haven, Conn. ; Mr. Henry C. Lea of Philadelphia ; Col. T. W. Higginson of Cambridge, Mass. ; Mr. Bernard Moses of Berkeley, Cal.; Mr. A. B. Houghton of Corning, N.Y.; Mr. John Hay of Washington; Mr. Henry Hitchcock of St. Louis, Mo.; President James B. Angell of Ann Arbor, Mich. ; Hon. Andrew D. White of Syracuse, N.Y.; Mr. Frank J. Goodnow and Mr. Edward P. Clark of New York; Dr. Atherton of the State College, Pennsylvania; and the authorities of the U.S. Bureau of Education. No one of these gentlemen is, however, responsible for any of the facts stated or views expressed in the book.

The Author is further indebted to Mr. Low for a chapter written by him, which contains matter of much interest relating to municipal government and politics.

He gladly takes this opportunity of thanking for their aid and counsel four English friends : Mr. Henry Sidgwick, who has read most of the proofs with great care and made valuable suggestions upon them; the Rev. Stopford A. Brooke, whose literary criticisms have been very helpful; Mr. Albert V. Dicey, and Mr. W. Robertson Smith.

He is aware that, notwithstanding the assistance rendered by friends in America, he must have fallen into not a few errors, and without asking to be excused for these, he desires to plead in extenuation that the book has been written under the constant pressure of public duties as well as of other private work, and that the difficulty of obtaining in Europe correct information regarding the constitutions and laws of American States and the rules of party organizations is very great.

When the book was begun, it was intended to contain a study of the more salient social and intellectual phenomena of contemporary America, together with descriptions of the scenery and aspects of nature and human nature in the West, all of whose States and Territories the Author has visited. But as the work advanced, he found that to carry out this plan it would be necessary either unduly to curtail the account of the government and politics of the United States, or else to extend the book to a still greater length than that which, much to his regret, it has now reached. He therefore reluctantly abandoned the hope of describing in these volumes the scenery and life of the West. As regards the non-political topics which were to have been dealt with, he has selected for discussion in the concluding chapters those of them which either were comparatively unfamiliar to European readers, or seemed specially calculated to throw light on the political life of the country, and to complete the picture which he has sought to draw of the American Commonwealth as a whole.

October 22, 1888.


As the introductory chapter of this book contains such explanations as seem needed of its scope and plan, I have little to do here except advert to the alterations made in it since it was first published in 1888. Some years afterwards, in 1893-95, a revised and much enlarged edition appeared ; and since that date various minor corrections and additions have from time to time been made. Now in 1910 I find that so many changes have taken place in the United States that a further complete revision has become necessary, and that some note ought to be taken of certain new phenomena in American politics and society. In this edition, accordingly, there have been introduced, sometimes in the text, sometimes in supplementary notes, concise descriptions of such phenomena.

Besides these corrections and additions, which do not affect the general plan, four new chapters have been added. One deals with the transmarine dominions of the United States acquired since 1888, a second with the huge influx of immigrants who have been arriving from Central and Southern Europe, a third with the more recent phases of the Negro Problem in the South, and a fourth with the remarkable development in late years of the American Universities.

My friend, Mr. Seth Low, formerly mayor of New York, has been kind enough to rewrite the chapter on Municipal Government which he contributed to the first edition, and which contains matter of much interest relating to city government and city politics.

I am indebted to Professor Beard of Columbia University for information on several topics which I could not personally investigate. Besides the difficulties of selection and compression which attend any attempt to deal in two volumes with so vast a subject as that of this treatise, I have found in revising it a further difficulty in the fact that many political institutions in the United States, such as forms of City Government, the party nominating machinery, and the methods of direct popular legislation, are at present in a transitory or experimental condition; the variations between one State and another growing more numerous with the emergence of new ideas and new schemes of reform. It would have been impossible to find space to describe these otherwise than in outline, even could I, under the heavy pressure of other duties, have found time to study all these things minutely. But an effort bas been made to call attention to the more important among these new political arrangements, and to give in each case the most recent facts, though I am for obvious reasons precluded from adding comments on many of the facts which it is proper to state.

It was with some anxiety that I entered on this revision, fearing lest the hopeful spirit with which my observation of American institutions from 1870 to 1894 bad inspired me might be damped by a close examination of their more recent phases. But all I have seen and heard during the last few years makes me more hopeful for the future of popular government. The forces working for good seem stronger to-day than they have been for the last three generations.

In the prefaces to the first and third editions I expressed my thanks to a large number of friends, American and English, who had helped me. Many of those to whom I was most indebted have now passed away. To those who happily remain I renew the expression of my gratitude, and am glad to thank also many others, too numerous to be all mentioned by name, in the United States, who have within the last few years helped me in a thousand ways towards acquiring a more thorough knowledge of their country.

I venture to take this opportunity of saying how deeply I appreciate the extraordinary kindness with which this attempt, made by one who was then, comparatively speaking, a stranger, to describe American institutions, has been received in the United States, and of which I have received so many proofs in travelling to and fro throughout the country.


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