« AnteriorContinuar »
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836, ling
ANDREW W. YOUNG, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Northern District of New York.
It is the peculiar fortune of the people of the United States, to live under a government that secures to them, in an extraordinary degree, the blessings of civil and religious liberty. It is believed that no other form of government is capable of conferring upon its citizens an equal amount of happiness.
Under our constitution, sovereignty resides with the people: in other words, they have the power of governing themselves. Consequently, it is of the first importance, that the depositories of political power should know how to apply this power intelligently and judiciously. The power to make and to administer the laws, is delegated to the representatives and agents of the people; the people should therefore be competent to judge when, and how far, this power is constitutionally and beneficially exercised.
Distinguished as the American people are for their comparative general intelligence, a large portion of them, it must be confessed, are greatly wanting in political knowledge. And while so many books have been prepared to facilitate the means of instruction, and so much has been done in various ways to promote the interests of education generally, it is remarkable that the science of government has received so little attention.
Multitudes in this republic are annually arriving at that period of life, when they are to exercise, for the first time, their privileges as citizens. In the state of New York alone, the number is about fifteen thousand, and is composed, chiefly, of those whose education does not embrace even the first principles of political science. It is not to
be expected that political power, in such hands, can be exercised with safety to the government, or with benefit to the community.
In the education of youth for the business of life, it seems almost to be forgotten, that they are ever to assume the duties of citizens-duties of paramount importance, on the due performance of which, their individual happi. ness, as well as the happiness and prosperity of the nation, mainly depends.
The following just and forcible observations, are from a late report of the superintendent of common schools of the state of New York. They are entitled to the consideration of every citizen of this republic:
“ On our cominon schools we must rely to prepare the great body of the people for maintaining inviolate the rights of freemen. If the political fabric cannot find in the public intelligence, a basis broad and firm enough to uphold it, it cannot long resist the shocks to which, through the collision of contending interests, it is continually exposed. Forty-nine out of every fifty of our citizens, receive their education in the common schools. As they advance to manhood, they are, for the most part, devoted to manual employments. Looking to their own industry as their only resource, and to its fruits as the boundaries of their personal desires the object nearest their hearts is to see their country prosperous, the laws administered with order and regularity, and the political importance, which the constitution has secured to them, maintained undiminished. The controversies to which conflicting interests give birth, are to be put at rest by their decision. In the questions of policy which are presented to them, constitutional principles are frequently involved, and the relation they bear, and may in all future time bear to the government, is directly or indirectly affected. How im