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POLITICAL THEORY AND PARTY
SIMEON D. FESS, LL.D.
PRESIDENT OF ANTIOCH COLLEGE
GINN AND COMPANY
BOSTON . NEW YORK . CHICAGO · LONDON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
DEC 5 1923
The Athenæum Press
A comparative study of the development of political theory and party organization will disclose the unique field occupied by the United States for such investigation. Here, as in no other country, the conditions for such development exist. A rich territory of inexhaustible resources, a population composed of the great middle classes with an instinct for self-government, a spirit of democracy pervading all ranks, a jealousy for the freedom of thought and speech, an insistence on the worship of God in accordance with the individual conscience, render the United States the best possible field for such growth.
In this work only those events are noted which bear upon the growth of political theory and party government. These events are marshaled so as to show a rational development, with little regard to chronological arrangement, but with special reference to logical sequence. Only such parts of the party platforms are noticed as will assist in the better understanding of this interesting field in American history.
To add vitality to the subject, distinguished leaders are brought forward, such as Hamilton, Jefferson, Marshall, Webster, and Calhoun. In this part of the work no attempt is made at detailed biography, the object being simply to point out some facts in the lives of these statesmen which explain their position as representative men of their times. This use of the personal element in studying American politics through men who stand out from among their fellows, will, I believe, give the work added interest for both teacher and pupil, and for the general reader. The two schools of political theorists are frequently referred to as the Loose Constructionists and the Strict Constructionists, which become identical with the Federalist and
Anti-Federalist parties. This same difference later separates the Whig from the Democratic party, and still later the Republican from the Democratic.
Party government, inevitable to a certain degree in a republic, naturally develops a narrow partisan spirit on the part of the voters. One of the most striking phenomena of political history is the close division of the voters of the United States, where fifteen million men cast their ballots for two candidates. In many of the national campaigns a change of but a few thousand votes would have reversed the result. An intelligent review of our political history will reduce this partisan spirit, by the recognition of the relative justice of the claims on both sides of the issue. It will not make party organization less effective, but it will liberalize the citizen by a broader view. It enables the Hamiltonian partisan to recognize the claims of a Jefferson follower, and vice versa. To such a citizen party is not an end, but a means to an end, and his fealty is to country rather than party.
The book is designed to be more than a text. It should appeal to that large portion of our citizens who are not interested in school subjects particularly, but in matters of general interest to a citizen of the republic. Intelligent participation in governmental affairs depends upon widely diffused knowledge of our political system.
In the preparation of this work I am greatly indebted to my wife, Eva Candas Fess, whose patient and helpful service aided greatly in the arrangement of the material; and to Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, of the Carnegie Institution, under whose scholarly enthusiasm the inspiration for publishing this work was gained.
S. D. FESS ANTIOCH COLLEGE YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO