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FOOTPRINTS OF TIME:
AND A COMPLETS
OF OUR AMERICAN
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT,
CONCISE HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF
THE ENGLISH COLONIES AND OF
THE UNITED STATES
FACTS AND STATISTICS FROM OFFICIAL SOURCES.
BY CHARLES BANCROFT.
R. T. ROOT
and 1875 By R. T. ROOT, In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
It is the object of this book to supply the means of forming an accurate idea of the American government. The author has adopted the proposition that the highest style of govern. ment is one of the people, by the people, and for the people," and believes that a constant progress, commencing in the earli. est times, has reached its full development in the Great Republic. He therefore traces The FOOTPRINTS OF Time through all history; notes the gradual unfolding of institutions, the rise and fall of empires, the causes that produced and destroyed the ancient republics, and the origin of the forces that give so much more strength and stability to modern civilization. All this he considers essential to a correct appreciation of the wonderful events of our age and country.
He then proceeds to a close and clear analysis of the whole structure of the government. Each general division, with its sub-divisions, is examined in detail, but successively; so that a definite picture of it, with all its branches, operations, and relations to other parts, stands before the mind as a sharply defined whole. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial divis. ions — the dependent parts of each kept in proper place come in order, one after the other, before the mind, the structure, powers and working of each being fully explained.
The book is indeed a compilation, and the matter in large part from official sources, but collected from an astonishingly large number of books, all of which are not to be found even in the largest public libraries; but the labor required in gath.
ering so much from all directions and impressing a library into a form and compass so convenient, and so well arranged, in so few and well chosen words, has been great indeed.
All the works heretofore brought before the public proposing to meet this want have been fragmentary, or have treated at too great length but a portion of the subject. A complete summary, or Citizens' Manual, is here furnished, that includes a sufficiently detailed Analysis of the entire structure of the government, developing in a clear and comprehensive manner the organization, powers, relations, and mode of working of each department, small or large, the principles on which they rest and the spirit that permeates them all. It lays our history so far under contribution as to show us the occasion that produced each institution, the gradual growth of the grand edifice and the causes that controlled and shaped the whole. In short, it gives us an adequate reason for the form of our institutions, even so far back as the earlier history of humanity, when the tendencies that have borne this fruit first began to appear in human history.
It is onr happiness to live in an age whose master-pieces of accomplishment, in science, industry and commerce, put to shame the extravagant fictions of Oriental tales and the wonders ascribed to the gods and heroes of ancient mythology. The changes produced by recent investigations and discoveries are so vast and so rapid that it is difficult to follow them or comprehend the power and thoroughness of the transformations that are taking place in the world around us. The applications of steam and electricity astonish us by their wide spread influence on the condition and relations of men; the case and speed of movement and intercourse, constantly increasing, are ever putting us in new and unfamiliar situations, We have hardly accustomed our thoughts and habits to one before we are hurried on into another. The constantly clearer and more abundant light shed by science and the press does not suffice to keep our minds fully up to the progress
goes on in all departments of life.
It is plain that we have entered on a New Era, the most extraordinary and momentous the world has ever seen. The old and imperfect is being cleared away and everything thor. oughly reconstructed. The explanation is that we are now setting up the grand Temple of Civilization, the separate stones and pillars of which each nation and age was commissioned to hew and carve, and, so to speak, left in the quarry to await the time when, all the material being ready, the Master Builder should collect all the scattered parts and raise the