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THE CITIZEN'S LIBRARY

OF

ECONOMICS, POLITICS, AND

SOCIOLOGY

EDITED BY

RICHARD T. ELY, PH.D., LL.D.

PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL ECONOMY,

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICAN

GOVERNMENT

THE CITIZEN'S LIBRARY OF ECONOMICS,

POLITICS, AND SOCIOLOGY 12 mo. Half Leather

$1.25 net, each

MONOPOLIES AND TRUSTS. By RICHARD T. ELY, PH.D., LL.D.
THE ECONOMICS OF DISTRIBUTION. By John A. HOBSON.
WORLD POLITICS. By PAUL S. REINSCH, Ph.,D.LL.B.
ECONOMIC CRISES. By EDWARD D. Jones, PH.D.
OUTLINES OF ECONOMICS. By RICHARD T. ELY.
GOVERNMENT IN SWITZERLAND. By JOAN MARTIN VINCENT,

PH.D.
ESSAYS ON THE MONETARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED

STATES. By CHARLES J. BULLOCK, Ph.D. SOCIAL CONTROL. By EDWARD A, Ross, Ph.D. HISTORY OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE UNITED STATES.

By Jesse Macy, LL.D. MUNICIPAL ENGINEERING AND SANITATION. By M. N.

BAKER, PH.B. DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL ETHICS. By JANE Addams, LL.D. COLONIAL GOVERNMENT. By Paul S. Reinsch, Ph.D., LL.B. AMERICAN MUNICIPAL PROGRESS. By CHARLES ZUEBLIN,B.D. IRRIGATION INSTITUTIONS. By ELWOOD MEAD, C.E., M.S. RAILWAY LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES. By BAL

THASAR H. MEYER, PH.D. STUDIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY,

By RICHARD T. ELY. PH.D., LL.D. THE AMERICAN CITY. By Delos F. Wilcox, Ph.D. MONEY. By David Kinley, Ph.D. THE FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY. By EDWARD A. Ross. THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIOLOGY. By FRANK W. BLACKMAR,

PH.D. COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION. By PAUL S. Reinscu,Ph.D.,LL.B AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF AGRICULTURAL

ECONOMICS, By HENRY C. TAYLOR, M.S.AGR., PH.D. SOME ETHICAL GAINS THROUGH LEGISLATION. By FLOR.

ENCE KELLEY. INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS ORGANIZATION. By SAMUEL

E. SPARLING, PH.D. THE NEWER IDEALS OF PEACE. By JANE ADDAMS, LL,D. THE SPIRIT OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. By J. ALLEN SMITI,

LL.B., Ph.D.

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

64-66 FIFTH AVENUE

NEW YORK

The Spirit of American

Government

A STUDY OF THE CONSTITUTION: ITS ORIGIN,

INFLUENCE AND RELATION

TO DEMOCRACY

BY

J. ALLEN SMITH, LL.B., Ph.D.

PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Pew York
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

All rights reserved

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

FROM THE LIBRARY OF
JOHN GRAHAN BROOKS

APRIL 25, 1939

COPYRIGHT, 1907
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped. Printed April, 1907

THE MASON-HENRY PRESS
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

PREFACE

It is the purpose of this volume to trace the influence of our constitutional system upon the political conditions which exist in this country to-day. This phase of our political problems has not received adequate recognition at the hands of writers on American politics. Very often indeed it has been entirely ignored, although in the short period which has elapsed since our Constitution was framed and adopted, the Western world has passed through a political as well as an industrial revolution.

In the eighteenth century the majority was outside of the pale of political rights. Government as a matter of course was the expression of the will of a minority. Even in the United States, where hereditary rule was overthrown by the Revolution, an effective and recognized minority control still survived through the property qualifications for the suffrage and for office-holding, which excluded a large proportion of the people from participation in political affairā. Under such conditions there could be but little of what is now known as democracy. Moreover, slavery continued to exist upon a large scale for nearly

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