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ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS.
REFORMED VOTING IN MUNICIPALITIES: OBJECTIONS
WITHIN the last few years the public mind has been awakened to many questions relating to government, but to no one more important than that discussed in the volume now presented to the reader. The editor believes it to be a necessity of the times, in view of current discussions of electoral reform, that the papers now collated and arranged should be put into a permanent and accessible form. For not only in Pennsylvania, but in many other states of the Union, the great evils of the present system of voting and of deficient representation, are being earnestly discussed. Therefore, whatever can assist in bringing about just conclusions either as to the necessity of some fundamental changes in electoral action, or, that being conceded, as to the best method of adapting the changes agreed upon to the needs of the people, may be accepted as fit, timely and useful.
Although a number of works, more or less elaborate, have been recently published upon electoral and representative reform, no one of them covers precisely the ground covered by the present one. They have dealt mostly with the theoretical and philosophical aspects of the questions treated, whereas the volume in hand is largely devoted to the practical application of the plan proposed in it for popular acceptance. Herein will be found not only the theory of a reform to extend representation, but sundry
acts of legislation for its enforcement, and the returns of elections which illustrate the practical workings of reform and the results to be obtained from it. This information is believed to be more useful and convincing than abstract arguments with the great mass of persons with whom political power is justly lodged by our American Constitution, And as to theory: If the people shall once be satisfied that a system can be applied whereby in popular elections, nearly the whole mass of those who vote shall be represented in government, they will accept it promptly upon the sound theory of equal and exact justice to all.
The matter contained in this volume, it will be observed, is arranged, as nearly as may be, in chronological order, thus exhibiting the growth and modifications of opinion in the author's mind, contemporaneous with movements in other states and publications abroad. And although it consists mainly of legislative arguments, popular addresses and casual papers thrown off or produced as occasion invited during several years, yet the collected volume has nearly the completeness and symmetry of a regular work, with little of surplusage or repetition. There is a regular development of argument, illustration and thought, and each separate, successive part presents the question in hand from a new or enlarged point of view.
T'he haste with which this volume is put to press precludes careful revision, a correction of former errors of publication and slips unavoidable in oral discourse, but for these the intelligent reader will make due allowance without prolonged apology.
As a citizen of the State, and a resident of the town in which the free vote was first applied at a popular election, the editor has felt the promptings of a laudable, or at least