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Entered, according to Act of Co.gress. In the year 1819.
BY S, G. GL'ODRICH, la the Clerk's Office of the District Cuur: of the District of Massa.
GEO. A. CURTIS,
In a country where government derives its very existence from the people, and where its entire administration is dependent on them, it is clear that it will be good or bad, as the people are intelligent or ignorant, virtuous or vicious. We cannot gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles; we cannot expect a wise government from ignorance, or a pure one from corruption. Hence, the familiar remark, that the safety of our liberty—of our republican institutions, lies in the intelligence and virtue of the people.
The diffusion of moral and intellectual light is therefore the great work of the patriot in these United States. And while this is true, as a general remark, it should not be forgotten that there is special reason for the diffusion of political truth. Government is an artificial structure, vast in its dimensions, curious and complicated in its parts. A man can no more be born a government-maker, than he can be born a house-maker, or a watch-maker; he needs to learn his trade as much in the one case as the other. And yet, every citizen, whenever he goes to the polls, goes as a political architect,
and the single vote he casts may give character to the whole edifice of government. Should not every man to whom such a mighty trust is confided, know what he is about?
These are obvious truths, yet they appear not to be duly borne in mind. There are some politicians who seem averse to popular education, as if the policy of despotic priests and princes, which would keep the mass ignorant, so that they may easily be kept in subjection, still lingered in their minds. There are others who have a disgust of politics, as if there were something revolting in the duties and offices which result in giving security to life and property and home! Surely, we should not be governed by such mischievous prejudice -such pernicious error! All our boys are destined to be citizens-government-builders; and ought we not, in duty to them, in duty to the country, to see that they learn their trade ? Shall we send them forth, ignorant in that art, which is the greatest and most important of all-an art which they are bound to exercise, and which they will exercise for good or ill to themselves and their country ?”
It is from reflections like these that I have been induced to undertake this little book, the purpose of which is to make the nature, origin, and principles of government, and especially of our own, accessible to all, and if possible, familiar to our youth. I have written it for a home book, and a school book, hoping that, until a better is furnished, it may be deemed worthy of introduction into our seminaries, where the mass of our people begin and finish their education. Why should