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American Historical Series
CHARLES H. HASKINS Professor of History in Harvard University
PROFESSOR OF HISTORT, MERITUS, IN TALE COLLEGE
I have endeavored in writing this book to keep constantly in view the needs of the general reader and of the college student. I have to join in the recurring lament of those who attempt to write a small book on a large subject that they are obliged to omit so many details and that the task of selection is so difficult. In this book I have especially regretted the fact when I have thought it necessary to omit details which one teacher of English history or another has urged me to include. It seemed to me certain, however, that the chief thing to keep always in mind was to make the continuous growth of the constitution from generation to generation as clear as possible. Details in this line, or which help to make it clear, must be included. Details which are not in the direct line may be omitted, if space demands, and must be if their inclusion would tend to confuse the larger view. I am sure that some teachers will not agree with my selection, but they will not find it a disadvantage that considerable opportunity is given for the expansion of the narrative by the teacher. I believe the book will be found to include those matters which all teachers agree are essential.
It will be especially useful, I think, to expand the Introduction into a more full description of the present English government, in order that the student may know from the beginning “how the play is going to end,” and what the important differences are between the American and English constitutions. It is desirable also that the student should be well grounded in English political history, which is here taken for granted, or that he should follow the account closely in some manual of the political history.
I wish to acknowledge my especial indebtedness to the