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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by
NATHANIEL CHIPMAN, LL. D.
The subject of government has employed the pens of the first philosophers of every age, from the time of Plato and Aristotle to the present day. To them the world are much indebted, especially to some of 1.2 moderns. None of them, however, as far as recollection serves, have atten:k ed, or at least, have succeeded in an investigation of first principles; in aua';zing the social nature of man, and deducing from the relations thence resulting, the principles that ought to be pursued in the formation of civil institutions; and yet it is believed, this is the only certain ground of investigation, the only mode in which any general, consistent, and practical principles in the science of government can be established. The greater number of those who have written on this subject have employed themselves in illustrating and recommending the principles and form of some government, for which they had conceived a predilection ; while others in their theories have consulted the imagination rather than the understanding. It will, therefore, be readily perceived that the theories and principles of neither class of these writers can be of general, much less of universal application ; that they cannot be applied, at least, indiscriminately, to governments of a different construction, and embracing different, and in many respects opposite principles. Such are the civil and political institutions of these United States; they differ in principles and construction very essentially from all that have preceded them. The Author convinced of that difference of principles and the excellence of our institutions owing chiefly to that difference, published as early as the year 1793, a small work entitled, “ Sketches of the Principles of Government,” with a view of briefly illustrating the principles on which they are founded. That little work which was well received at the time, has long been out of print.
The Author had entertained a design, as 'no treatise had appeared fully embracing the subject, of publishing a revised edition of that work; but on a review, he found it too limited in its plan, as well as deficient in arrangement. He, therefore, resolved to new-cast the whole, to enlarge the plan, to give it a more regular and scientific arrangement, and as far as he was capable, to make it an elementary treatise on that kind of government which has been adopted in these United States. In the execution of this task, although the work consists principally of new and additional matter, the Author has in several instances, adınitted portions of his former work with such corrections as were suggested by a long course of observations and experi