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Revised and Enlarged Edition of Historical Literature.
By C. K. ADAMS, LL.D., President of Cornell University. A MANUAL OF HISTORICAL LITERATURE, comprising Brief Descriptions of the most Important Histories in English, French, and German, together with Practical Suggestions as to Methods and Courses of Historical Study, for the use of Students, General Readers, and Collectors of Books. By Charles Kendall Adams, LL.D., Profes
sor of History, and President of Cornell Uni- Cassell's Pocket Guide to Europe.
versity. 3d Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Pp. xl., 720. Crown 8vo. Cloth, $2.50.
Planned by E. C. STEDMAN of New York; compiled by EDWARD KING of Paris; revised by M. F. SWEETSER of Boston.
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JUNE, 1889. No. 110. tributes of admiration at the wisdom of our
Appropriate to this period of centennial
been said, Professor Landon does not treat of
the United States constitution as to be considered by itself, or as presenting in itself the whole or the essential part of the American system. That system can be understood only by considering the Federal constitution as but one portion, while the various State constitutions are another portion of no less importance in the completed whole. This dual form of our government is emphasized in these lectures. The State constitutions stand as an essential part of the Federal system. The correlative proposition has never been more forcibly presented than now by Professor Landon, that the United States constitution is necessary to the proper scope and development of that part of the system which finds its expression in the State constitutions. It was this dual constitutional system which was the natural growth. If criticism upon so excellent a work would not be considered ungracious, one might suggest a fuller elaboration by Professor Landon of the details of the gradual and natural growth, during the American colonial period, of each of these principles of national sovereignty and local independence.
It is, however, elucidated in this treatise, and with a clearness most excellent, how the central powers of the National government have been exercised with the result of strengthening the State governments. During the period prior to the Civil War, the hostility of the States toward supposed encroachments of the Federal governments is stated succinctly but clearly. The author is not, however, a harsh critic of the States-Rights politicians, although himself a firm and uncompromising Unionist. With impartial candor, he shows how natural was the political feeling, at one time so prevalent, of jealousy of the central power. With like judicial calmness, he shows in what an orderly way the central power has, in the new era since the Civil War, become the firm bulwark of the reserved rights of the States.
This, which may be considered the final summary of the author's views of our constitutional development, is presented in the three lectures which are appropriately devoted to an illustration of the influence of the Supreme Court of the United States upon our constitutional development and growth. This court occupied, at the beginning of our first century, a position in our political system which may be best described by the term sufferance. Recognized in the constitution, it was allowed to exist and operate; but its decisions were
often treated with disrespect and sometimes with contumely and open disregard. It worked its way gradually into partial and then more complete favor; then into a position of influence, and finally into one of calm and quiet, yet supreme and unquestioned power. Its first great work was to determine the proper powers of the nation in our system, and to secure for those powers just recognition, respect, and obedience. It was through the labors of this court that the people were educated into the faith and the strength sufficient to carry the Union through the crisis of the Civil War; that work done, and the nation finally planted with firmness upon the constitutional foundation, it then became the task of the Supreme Court to enforce and maintain in like manner the powers conferred by our system upon the State governments. The consummation of the work of our statesmen, as described by the court, is an indissoluble Union, composed of indestructible States. Landon appropriately reminds us that that august court has itself done no small portion of the work of erecting and perfecting such a Union.
"Not immediately, but gradually, ultimately, and surely, the court by its decisions separated the National and State powers from their confusing mixture, and gave to each clearness of outline and distinctness of place. It gave to the abstract words of the constitution an active and commanding significance. It disclosed the instrumentalities by which rights conferred could be enjoyed, and wrongs forbidden could be averted or redressed. It composed conflicts, promoted harmony, and soothed passions. It defined the just limits of conand restored each to its proper place. tending powers, separated encroaching jurisdictions, It lifted a dissolving and moribund nation to great strength and vitality. It gave to the States clear and accurate conceptions of their wide field of domestic government. It instructed coördinate departments. It vested the nation with its own, and did not impair the just powers of the States. The peaceful manner in which all this was accomplished made the accomplishment more remarkable. Revolutionary results without revolutionary means are rarely witnessed in the history of mankind." (p. 274.)
It is a familiar thought that our political system is one of "checks and balances.' Probably few persons who are in the habit of using this phrase have ever attempted to fully state or closely define these checks and balances. That one power checks another, is easily seen; but that the checks and balances should in themselves contain the germs of much of the inherent strength of our system, is not so evident. To this feature of our system Landon devotes several pages. Among those provisions which assist in insuring its perpet