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public affairs, and where that influence always tells for good or evil. Our education is very deficient if it does not embrace a knowledge of the scheme of government; and it seems to us that it is as proper a subject for the instruction of the school-room as many others which are taught there. But if this is neglected, certainly the young man ought not to be left to pick up this knowledge, here a little and there a little, in detached portions, as he may chance to find it scattered through books, newspapers, public speeches and casual conversations; yet these are the only sources from which nine-tenths of the people have gained all they know of the political affairs of their own country; and what is thus gained is rarely acquired till middle life, and in a majority of cases not until a later period.
By these reasons we have been prompted to write the book before you, in order to place these matters, in compact and methodical form, within the reach of every one who desires to understand them. We have aimed throughout at plainness and perspicuity; not avoiding repetition whenever the subject treated of could be made. plainer by its use. Statements will be found in one connection, and again in another, whenever the fact stated appeared to be especially applicable to the subject under consideration.
We think that an attentive perusal of these Chapters will give the reader a correct idea of the organization and mode of operating the United States Government, together with an insight into the machinery by which it is done. When this is acquired, it becomes an easy task to understand the government of the thirty-seven States which compose one great Confederated Union, and to compre hend the fact that every person in the United States, lives under two separate and distinct governments, and is amenable to two different codes of laws; first, that of the State in which he resides, and second, that of the United States, commonly termed the General Government. Much in both is analogous, especially the legislative and judicial proceedings. The wisdom of the framers of our Constitution adjusted these IMPERII IN IMPERIO-governments within a government, so that all work harmoniously, and with very little friction, or conflict of authority.
We have not treated of the State governments, nor could we have done so without going far beyond the limits. assigned to this work. Each State is noticed, however, in some remarks, as to the time of its entrance into the Union, its size, population, circuits and districts, as prescribed by the laws of Congress. But this is to show their relations to the entire Union, and the relative influence and power they have as various parts of one great whole.