The American Commonwealth: Two Volumes

The American Commonwealth: Two Volumes

by James Bryce

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In Democracy in America (1835) the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville interpreted American society through the lens of democratic political theory. A half-century later the Scotsman James Bryce examined “the institutions and the people of America as they are.” Bryce presented his findings in The American Commonwealth, first published in London in three volumes in 1888. This new Liberty Fund two-volume edition is based on the updated third edition of 1941, which encompassed all the changes, corrections, and additions that Bryce entered into the previous editions. Its expanded appendix includes Bryce’s 1887 essay, “The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville,” and contemporaneous (1889) reviews of The American Commonwealth by Woodrow Wilson and Lord Acton.

The great merit of Bryce’s work is that it is based on close observation of the actual operation of American political institutions, including political parties and municipal and state governments. Consequently, Bryce provides what Professor Gary McDowell describes as “a grand atlas of American politics and society.” Indeed, Bryce was able to discern enduring characteristics of American society and politics. Therefore, as Robert Nisbet has written, “we still go to Bryce for piquant and cogent answers to the questions of why great men are not chosen presidents and why the best men do not go into politics in America.”

James Bryce (1838–1922) was a British jurist, historian, and statesman. From 1907 to 1913 he was England’s ambassador to the United States.

Gary L. McDowell is the Tyler Haynes Interdisciplinary Professor of Leadership Studies, Political Science, and Law at the University of Richmond in Virginia. From 1992 to 2003 he was the Director of the Institute of United States Studies in the University of London.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614871217
Publisher: Liberty Fund Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/1995
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 1711
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction xi
Publisher’s Note xxxi
Preface to the First Edition xxxiii
Preface to the Edition of 1910 xxxv
Note to the Edition of 1914 xxxvi
List of Presidents xxxvii
Dates of Some Remarkable Events in the History of the North American Colonies and United States xxxviii
Area, Population, and Date of Admission of the States xxix Introductory 1 Part I
The National Government
The Nation and the States 13
The Origin of the Constitution 17
Nature of the Federal Government 28
The President 34
Presidential Powers and Duties 47
Observations on the Presidency 62
Why Great Men Are Not Chosen Presidents 69
The Cabinet 76
The Senate 87
The Senate as an Executive and Judicial Body 96
The Senate: Its Working and Influence 101
The House of Representatives 113
The House at Work 129
The Committees of Congress 140
Congressional Legislation 150
Congressional Finance 158
The Relations of the Two Houses 166
General Observations on Congress 171
The Relations of Congress to the President 187
The Legislature and the Executive 193
The Federal Courts 204
The Courts and the Constitution 215
The Working of the Courts 232
Comparison of the American and European Systems 246
General Observations on the Frame of National Government 264
The Federal System 276
Working Relations of the National and the State Governments 287
Criticism of the Federal System 302
Merits of the Federal System 310
Supplementary Note on the Federal System 317
Growth and Development of the Constitution 320
The Amendment of the Constitution 324
The Interpretation of the Constitution 332
The Development of the Constitution by Usage 348
The Results of Constitutional Development 356 Part II
The State Governments
Nature of the American State 365
State Constitutions 379
The Development of State Constitutions 400
Direct Legislation by the People 412
State Governments: The Legislature 427
The State Executive 442
The State Judiciary 450
State Finance 460
The Working of State Governments 474
Note on Recent Tendencies of Legislation 492
Remedies for the Faults of State Governments 493
State Politics 507
Note on Developments in State Government 518
The Territories 519
Local Government 529
Observations on Local Government 549
The Government of Cities 559
The Working of City Governments 570
An American View of Municipal Government in the United States 585 Appendix
Constitutional Conventions 606
What the Federal Constitution Owes to the Constitutions of the Several States 609
Extracts from the Rules of the Senate 613
Private Bills 615
The Lobby 618
Constitution of the Confederate States, 1861-65 623
The Federal Constitution of Canada 625
The Dartmouth College Case 626
Articles of Confederation, 1781-88 628
Constitution of the United States 635
Extracts from the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma 652
Extracts from the Constitution of the State of California 679 VOLUME II
Part III
The Party System
Political Parties and Their History 683
The Parties of Today 699
Composition of the Parties 708
Further Observations on the Parties 717
The Politicians 731
Why the Best Men do not go into Politics 743
Party Organizations 749
The Machine 754
Note on Recent Legislation Regarding Primaries 760
What the Machine has to do 765
How the Machine Works 773
Rings and Bosses 782
Local Extension of Rings and Bosses 794
Spoils 805
Elections and their Machinery 814
Corruption 824
The War against Bossdom 835
National Nominating Conventions 842
The Nominating Conventions at Work 851
The Presidential Campaign 867
The Issues in Presidential Elections 876
Further Observations on Nominations and Elections 883
Types of American Statesmen890
What the People think of it 898
Note on the Party System 904 Part IV
Public Opinion
The Nature of Public Opinion 909
Government by Public Opinion 916
How Public Opinion Rules in American 923
Organs of Public Opinion 929
National Characteristics as Moulding Public Opinion 939
Classes as Influencing Opinion 950
Local Types of Opinion—East, West, and South 962
The Action of Public Opinion 971
The Tyranny of the Majority 986
The Fatalism of the Multitude 994
Wherein Public Opinion Fails 1003
Wherein Public Opinion Succeeds 1011 Part V
Illustrations and Reflections
The Tammany Ring in New York City 1023
The Philadelphia Gas Ring 1047
Kearneyism in California 1066
Epilogue to This and the Two Last Preceding Chapters 1085
The Home of the Nation 1087
The Latest Phase of Immigration 1105
The South Since the War 1124
Present and Future of the Negro 1143
Further Reflections on the Negro Problem 1168
Foreign Policy and Territorial Extension 1190
The New Transmarine Dominions 1200
Laissez Faire 1210
Woman Suffrage 1223
The Supposed Faults of Democracy 1235
The True Faults of American Democracy 1250
The Strength of American Democracy 1261
How Far American Experience Is Available for Europe 1273 Part VI
Social Institutions
The Bar 1283
The Bench 1296
Railroads 1306
Wall Street 1317
The Universities and Colleges 1324
Further Observations on the Universities 1352
The Churches and the Clergy 1370
The Influence of Religion 1386
The Position of Women 1399
Equality 1412
The Influence of Democracy on Thought 1423
Creative Intellectual Power 1432
The Relation of the United States to Europe 1444
The Absence of a Capital 1453
American Oratory 1460
The Pleasantness of American Life 1468
The Uniformity of American Life 1475
The Temper of the West 1486
The Future of Political Institutions 1496
Social and Economic Future 1508 Appendix I
Explanation (by Mr. G. Bradford) of the Nominating Machinery and its Procedure in the State of Massachusetts 1524
Remarks by Mr. Denis Kearney on“Kearneyism in California” 1526 Appendix II
“The Predictions of Hamilton and de Tocqueville,” by James Bryce 1530 Appendix III
“Bryce’s American Commonwealth: A Review,” by Woodrow Wilson 1571 Appendix IV
“Review of The American Commonwealth, ” by Lord Acton 1585 Index 1597

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