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[Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by HARPER AND BRoth ERs, in the Office of the Clerk of the Southern District of New-York.]
THE following work was commenced in the winter of 1832–3, before the Exposition of Mr. Bayard, the Outlines of President Duer, or the admirable Commentaries of Justice Story, had yet issued from the press. Why the author was not deterred from the continuance of his undertaking, by the appearance of such distinguished instructers in the same arduous field, will sufficiently appear from the following statement of his object and his plan.
It was early and strongly impressed upon the mind of the writer, that political instruction was necessary to political liberty; that the establishment of constitutional rights pre-supposed in the people a knowledge of the elementary terms, definitions, and principles, expressed in written constitutions; and that without such knowledge, whatever other information or intelligence might be cultivated, our happy republic would pursue the same melancholy career which had
led to the ruin of the free nations of antiquity.