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I. The growth of the belief that the world is a globe, the discussions regarding its size, and the influence that these investigations exerted upon Columbus.

II. The efforts towards union put forth by the Colonies and the States, from 1637 to the adoption of the Constitution, and the difficulties encountered.

III. The jealousies between the Colonies at first, and States afterwards, and the Federal unions to which they belonged. The repeated threats of secession, from 1643 to 1861.

IV. The various theories of the Constitution and Government arising from differences of opinion regarding the powers delegated, by the Colonies and the States, to the Federal Governments, and the reserved powers.

V. The growth of the National or American feeling, as shown by the Declaration of Rights made by Congress, in 1765, and the more general declaration of the principles on which those rights were based, made by Virginia in 1776.

VI. The various plans for Union.

VII. The delay in adopting the Articles of Confederation and the important reasons for it. The basis on which the difficulties growing out of the nature and extent of the grants of territory to the original colonies, were finally adjusted.

VIII. The nature of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1797 and 1798, and their long and important influence.

IX. The principles of the country from the beginning regarding fugitives from service, and the enactments made by the New England Confederation in 1643, in the Constitution in 1787, and in the fugitive slave acts of 1793 and 1850, during the administrations of Washington and Fillmore.

X. The opposition of the North to war, in 1861, and the efforts to preserve peace. The specious sophistries and deceptions by which demagogues precipitated the conflict.

XI. In order to enable the reader more readily to study some of these subjects, the volume is furnished with copies of original documents not readily accessible.

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The publishers have endeavored to make the volume mechanically excellent. A clear type has been used and illustrations have been supplied in considerable numbers. In selecting subjects for these cuts, scenes of battle and carnage have been avoided, and preference has been given to pictures of noted persons, buildings and natural scenery of the different parts of the country, and to sketches illustrating the manners and work of the people at different periods.

Much labor has been expended to arrive at exactness in dates, but even the most painstaking assiduity and the best intentions are insufficient to ensure perfection in this regard when hundreds of dates are given. The reader who detects errors of this kind is requested to communicate with the publishers, in order that the necessary changes may be made, should other editions be called for.

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