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The primary aim in the preparation of this volume has been to put between two covers for the use of students and teachers the more essential facts in the history of the constitution of the state. At the same time an attempt has been made to cover the subject with sufficient completeness to make the work useful as a reference book for lawyers, judges, legislators, and public officials generally. The limited scope of the work must, however, be made clear. It is essentially a history of a public document, the written constitution of Minnesota. It explains when and how the original constitution was drawn up and adopted, how it happened to include this and that original provision, and what amendments have been introduced into its text and for what reasons; but it does not, except incidentally, explain how the various clauses have worked in practice, nor does it attempt to discuss fully the interpretation which the courts have given to its several provisions. It is neither a history of the government and politics of the state, nor a treatise on its constitutional law, though it includes some of the elements of both and furnishes the foundation upon which they may be erected.
The manner of treatment combines both the chronological and the topical, and as a result a certain amount of repetition has been unavoidable. The author has looked upon the work primarily as a reference book, however, and has consequently tried to make the discussion under each head fairly complete in itself. In addition there will be found in the footnotes frequent cross-references to other passages. The general policy with regard to footnotes has been to put in too many rather than too few, in order to facilitate further research by the readers of this volume. For this purpose there has been added, also, a bibliography and a somewhat elaborate analytical index, to both of which the attention of the research student is called.
According to the original plan, Mr. Lobb was to have taken the constitution as it was in 1857 and to have traced its history down to the present, showing how the processes of amendment have operated and explaining all the amendments. He had gathered the materials for his chapters and had already prepared rough drafts of them when he was called out of the fields of teaching and research first to become assistant to the president and later comptroller of the University. His new duties prevented his completing the work he had so well begun, and it devolved upon the undersigned to prepare the entire manuscript. While the latter assumes full responsibility for the arrangement, the style, and the substance of all the chapters, he wishes to express his gratitude to Mr. Lobb for his invaluable assistance and for his sustained interest in the work after he was compelled to give it up.
The author is also under obligations to his colleagues Dean Guy Stanton Ford, Professor Cephas D. Allin, Dr. Solon J. Buck, and Dr. Lester B. Shippee, all of whom have read the manuscript and made valuable suggestions. Mention must also be made of the kindly assistance received by the author in the offices of the Secretary of State, the State Librarian, and the Minnesota Historical Society. The collection of newspapers, books, and manuscripts of the Minnesota Historical Society is indispensable for the success of any such work as was here attempted.
This volume is in a sense the first substantial result of the work of the Bureau for Research in Government of the Department of Political Science. The maps were prepared by Miss Sophia Hall, secretary of the Bureau, who also gave worthy assistance in the preparation of the manuscript. It is the plan of the Bureau to prepare a series of monographs, of which this is the first, dealing with various phases and problems of the state and local government of Minnesota.