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Emtered according to the Act of Congress, in the year One Thousand Eight

Hundred and Thirty-three, by WILLIAM ALEXANDER DUER, in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.



To you, Sir, as the surviving member of the august assembly that framed the Constitution, and of that illustrious triumvirate who, in vindicating it from the objections of its first assailants, succeeded in recommending it to the adoption of their country; to you, who, in discharging the highest duties of its administration, proved the stability and excellence of the Constitution, in war as well as in peace, and determined the experiment in favour of republican institutions and the right of self-government; to you, who in your retirement, raised a warning voice against those heresies in the construction of that Constitution which for a moment threatened to impair it; to you, Sir, as alone amongst the earliest and the latest of its defenders,—this brief exposition of the organization and principles of the National Government, intended especially for the instruction of our American youth, is most respectfully, and, in reference to your public services, most properly inscribed.

Columbia College, N. Y.

August 1st, 1833.


The following sheets are submitted to the Public in consequence of a resolution of “The American Lyceum,” requesting the Author “ to prepare and publish · Outlines of the Constitutional Jurisprudence of the United States, in a form suitable for a text book for Lectures, and a class book to be used in Academies and Common Schools.”

This resolution avowedly originated from a conviction, on the part of the respectable body who adopted it, of the advantage and propriety of including the study of our political institutions in the system of general education; and the proposal seems to have been prompted by the opinion or experience of the individuals by whom it was brought forward, and who are practically engaged in the instruetion of youth, that none of the existing Treatises upon Constitutional Law, were of a sufficiently popular character for the design contemplated; whilst the selection of the Author to compile such a work, is doubtless to be ascribed to his official connection with the “Lyceum," and to the circumstance of his having, to the knowledge of several of its members, been for some time previously engaged in lecturing upon Constitutional Jurisprudence in the College over which he has the honour to preside.

It was indecd at his suggestion that this branch of study had been added to the subgraduate course of instruction in that Institution, and the duty of conducting it confided to his charge ; and it was with peculiar satisfaction, though not without a due sense of its responsibility, that he had engaged in a task which, grateful as it was to him from its congeniality with his former studies and pursuits, he nevertheless apprehended would prove arduous in its execution, both from the nature of the subject, and his own views of its importance.

A knowledge of the history, organization, and principles of the political institutions under which he lives, is essential to the scholar, and must necessarily be advantageous to eve. ry man, wheresoever he may have been born, and under whatsoever form of government he

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