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The basis of this book is the “History of Presidential Elections,” originally published in 1884. In the preparation of that work the meagreness and comparative inaccessibility of material concerning the early elections made the chapters that deal with that period somewhat barren. Increasing abundance of material and greater familiarity with the political history of more recent times caused a broadening of the plan, and led to the result that the later chapters of the original work, and still more the chapters added in subsequent editions, in 1888, 1892, and 1896, were much more than a history of the elections.
I have thought that the usefulness of the book might be greatly enhanced by rewriting a large part of it, supplying deficiencies by a more diligent search for and study of the facts relating to the presidency in the early days of the government, and enriching it throughout with new personal, explanatory, and other enlightening matter, thus making the whole work uniform in method. This has enabled me to introduce a fuller discussion of some of the political problems to which the constitutional provisions regarding the presidential office have given rise.
More important still, the revision and expansion of the work have given me a much-desired opportunity to modify some opinions expressed in the original book which a more careful and thorough examination of origi. nal sources of information has led me to regard as not well founded. The last consideration has the more weight in view of the use that has been made of the book in the history departments of our colleges.
The changes and additions here noted have given the book
so much greater scope than it had in its first form, that a broader title seems necessary. If it be urged that a history of the presidency should include an account of the development of the presidential office, and of the successive expansions or limitations of the President's powers and duties, the reply may be made that there has been no such development to record, since the office is now what it was in the time of Washington, ~ neither of greater nor of less weight in the government than it was then.
I have endeavored to collect and present all important matters relating to the presidency, beginning with the constitu tional history of the office, covering every public event and discussion which had a perceptible influence in determining who should hold the office, and in connection therewith to note the origin and sketch the history of all political parties, however ephemeral, that rose above the rank of a local faction. And, since one President is different from another, I have tried to show wherein and in what manner the personal qualities of the Presidents have affected the course of public events and of the national history.
E. S. BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS, July, 1898.
IV. Joux ADAMS
V. THE JEFFERSON-BUBR CONTEST .