The Government Class Book

Andrew W. Young
The Government Class Book

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Title: The Government Class Book Designed for the Instruction of
Youth in the Principles of Constitutional Government and the Rights
and Duties of Citizens.
Author: Andrew W. Young
Release Date: March 10, 2005 [EBook #15319]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Distributed Proofreaders

[Transcriber's Note: In the original book, questions appeared at the
bottom of each page. These questions have been compiled at the end of
the text.]

The Government Class Book;
Designed for the Instruction of Youth in the Principles of
Constitutional Government and the Rights and Duties of Citizens.
By Andrew W. Young,
Author of "Science of Government," "First Lessons in Civil
Government," "American Statesman," "Citizen's Manual of
Government and Law."

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by Andrew W.
Young, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Northern District of New York.


The utility of the diffusion of political knowledge among a people
exercising the right of self-government, is universally admitted. The
form of government established by the people of the United States,
though well adapted to promote the general welfare, is highly
complicated; and the knowledge requisite to administer it successfully
can not be acquired without much study. From the fact that a large
portion of the American people are greatly deficient in this knowledge,
we may justly conclude that it will never become general, until it shall
have been made an object of school instruction.
The administration of the government of this great and rapidly
increasing republic, will, in a few years, devolve upon those who are
now receiving instruction in the public schools. Yet thousands annually
complete their school education, who have never devoted any time to

the study of the principles of the government in which they are soon to
take a part--who become invested with political power without the
preparation necessary to exercise it with discretion. The schools are
regarded as the nurseries of our future statesmen. They share largely in
the bounty of the state; yet few of them render in return even the
rudiments of political science to those who are to become her
legislators, and governors, and judges. Not only in the common schools
generally, but in a large portion of the high schools and seminaries, this
science is not included in the course of instruction.
To many of the most enlightened friends of education and of our free
institutions, it has long been a matter of surprise as well as regret, that
those to whom the educational interests of the states are more
immediately intrusted, should so long have treated the study in question
as of minor importance, or have suffered it to be excluded by studies of
far less practical utility. The Regents of the University of the State of
New York have repeatedly noticed the neglect of this study in the
academies and seminaries subject to their visitation; and they mention
it as a remarkable fact, that in many of them preference is given to the
study of the Grecian and Roman antiquities. They say: "The
constitutions, laws, manners, and customs of ancient Greece and Rome
are made subjects of regular study, quarter after quarter, while our own
constitutional jurisprudence, and the every day occurring principles of
our civil jurisprudence, are not admitted as a part of the academic
To persons who are to engage in any of the industrial or professional
pursuits, a preparatory course of training or discipline is deemed
indispensable to success. Yet many assume the weighty responsibilities
of freemen, and allow their sons to do the same, with scarcely any
knowledge of a freeman's duties. On the intelligent exercise of political
power, the public prosperity and the security of our liberties mainly
depend. Every person, therefore, who is entitled to the rights of a
citizen, is justly held responsible for the proper performance of his
political duties. And any course of popular instruction which fails to
impart a knowledge of our system of government, must be materially

With a view to supply this deficiency, the author, many years since,
prepared his "Introduction to the Science of Government." This work
soon attained considerable popularity, both as a class book in schools,
and as a book for private
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