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We beg leave to announce that by arrangement with the author we have secured the exclusive right to the publication of this, the only English translation which will be authorized by him.

The future volumes of the work will appear simultaneously with those of the German edition.




The United States are about to commence the second century of their life as an independent commonwealth and as a republic. It is a curious fact that, at the same time, they evidently are entering upon a new phase of their political development. The era of buoyant youth is coming to a close: ripe and sober manhood is to take its place.

I take it to be a good omen for the success of this work that just at this moment an English translation of it is to be offered to the American public. As all the sources I have been able to use, are, without a single exception, printed books well known to every student of American politics, no new facts are to be found in the work, and I even cannot claim that new views of importance have presented themselves to my mind. Yet I trust that it will not be considered as lost labor. There are, among the authors who have written on the constitutional law or the politics. of the United States, more than one, whom, in all candidness, I do not pretend to equal in many very important respects. But I venture to assert that among all the works, covering about as large a ground as mine, there is not one to be found which has been written with as much soberness of mind. And it is not strange that it should be so.

Among foreign authors there is but one whom, to some extent, I can consider as a predecessor. Tocqueville's work will always be read, not only with interest, but also with great profit. Yet even at the time it appeared, it failed to

do justice to its subject. The great French scholar was a "doctrinarian." In his writings on French subjects the weakness of his political reasoning, consequent upon this unhistorical and unpolitical turn of his mind, is to a great extent made up by the vastness and thoroughness of his positive knowledge. In his work on "Democracy in America," on the contrary, it makes itself strongly felt on every page, because he lacks the necessary positive knowledge.

As to my American predecessors I have one great advantage over all of them: I am a foreigner. This I consider to be an advantage, though, during my sojourn in the United States (1867-1872), I had frequently to hear: "You are a foreigner, you cannot fully understand our system of government."

I, of course, do not deny that there is a certain something in the character of every nation which a foreigner will never be able to completely understand, because it cannot be grasped by the judgment; it can only be felt, and in order to feel it, one's flesh and blood must be filled with the national sentiment. But, however often my shot may have missed the mark in consequence of this lack of the national sentiment, though it might greatly impair the value of the work for other foreigners, it cannot possibly be fatal to it with regard to American readers, for they have the necessary corrective in their American feeling.

On the other hand, it is much easier for a foreigner to guard his judgment from being betrayed by his feeling. He has only to ward off his prejudices. This, though no easy work, can be done to a high degree, while it is impossible to strip one's self of one's national sentiment, because this is a constitutive part of the individuality. The attempt to do it would inevitably lead from Seylla into Charybdis; it would result in an effort to do the work, so to say, as a reasoning machine without any feeling whatever. There are historians and political philosophers who pretend that

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