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The object of this book is to give a clear and brief explanation of the political organization and fundamental principles of the American Government.
By the peculiar division of power in the American system, the people of every state live under two Governments-the National and State Governments-each having its separate sphere and special objects and duties, and each sovereign in its particular capacity. This is a system peculiar to America, and mostly unknown in the European Governments. A knowledge of these peculiar principles, it must be admitted, is essential to a proper understanding of the political news we are constantly receiving and a correct comprehension of the principles involved in the great contest now raging in the New World.
While there are expensive works from which this information may in a measure be obtained, there is none within the knowledge of the compiler especially adapted to the object; and the belief that a cheap work of the kind would supply a want which has long been felt in England has induced the compilation of this Manual.
It is a book of facts, and not opinions; and entire impartiality has been aimed at.
The materials are derived from the best authorities The statistical matter is compiled from the official returns of the Eighth Decennial Census (1860), inaccessible until recently in America, and now for the first time published in this country.
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.
THE continent of North America was chiefly settled by emigrants from Great Britain. The jurisdiction over the new region, as well as the title to its lands, was claimed by the mother country, by right of discovery and conquest. Hence, to acquire the right of property, as well as to sustain themselves against opposition, the authority of Great Britain became necessary to the early colonists. This was given in the form of grants and charters to companies and large proprietors. Such was the grant of the territory of Massachusetts to the Plymouth Company, and of Maryland to Lord Baltimore.*
There were originally three different forms of government in the colonies, viz., the Charter, the Proprietary, and Royal Governments. The Charter Governments were confined to the New England states : the middle and Southern colonies were divided between the Proprietary and Royal Governments.
These difierent governments, operating also upon a people of different habits and manners, as the Puritans of New England, the Cavaliers of Virginia, and the Quakers of Pennsylvania, produced many diversities of legislation and political character. Notwithstanding these, however, the necessities of a common danger from
* Pitkin's Civil History, p. 31.