Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/576

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ure discusses the beginnings and subdivisions of races, locating the birthplace of the species in a region comprising southern Europe, the bed of the Mediterranean, and northern Africa, which in early Quaternary times was one connected body of land. In succeeding chapters the probable course of the early migrations of the various races, and the formation of subdivisions, are traced. The author places the first home of the white race—which he calls Eurafrican—in the region just mentioned, and regards its migrations as having taken place toward the east in two divisions. The early history of the black and yellow races, and of certain insular and littoral peoples, is then taken up. In his review of the American race, Dr. Brinton does not take up the question where the Indians came from, having stated fully elsewhere his reasons for believing that America was peopled from Europe, by way of a former land connection across the north Atlantic. A concluding lecture is devoted to discussing the destiny of races, and certain ethnographic problems, as acclimation, amalgamation, and civilization. An index of authors quoted and one of subjects are appended.

Our Government: How it grew, what it does, and how it does it. By Jesse Macy, A. M., Professor of Constitutional History and Political Economy in Iowa College. Revised edition. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. xii + 296.

Prof. Macy is to be congratulated on having produced in the work above mentioned an extremely valuable treatise upon the system of government under which we live. One of the encouraging signs of the times is the attention which is beginning to be bestowed in our schools and colleges—upon the laws and institutions of the land upon American politics in the wider and better sense. Foreigners are under a general impression that all American citizens able to read and write have the Constitution of their country at their fingers' ends, and that no one here needs much special preparation to enter on a political career. We could wish the impression had more foundation in truth than it has. The fact is, that ignorance in regard to the whole field of political knowledge is wide-spread among the electorate, and is in danger of becoming more so from year to year. The efforts, therefore, that are now being put forth to foster such knowledge are most timely; and we welcome the appearance of a manual like the present, which brings home to the mind of the student or general reader what kind of a country this is in a political sense; what the rights and duties of each citizen are, and what powers and responsibilities are invested in the different grades or species of government by law established. There are great advantages in a healthy and vigorous development of local institutions as with us; but, as everything good has some drawback, so this, on the whole, fortunate circumstance has the drawback of somewhat enfeebling the individual citizen's consciousness of participation in the life of the nation. We need to awaken and stimulate this consciousness, and the way to do it is undoubtedly to bring the facts of national life home to each mind by careful instruction. We do not hesitate to say that a knowledge of the facts contained in the work before us could scarcely fail to create in any ordinary mind a respectful interest in national and State politics, and would thus tend to rescue the individual citizen and voter from the hands of mere intriguing party managers. The amount of information in regard to local, municipal, State, and Federal Government that Prof. Macy has managed to pack into the present manual is surprising. There is not a single page which any student who desires to be thoroughly well informed in United States politics can afford to skip. Comparing the present work with Mr. Fiske's recent book, we may say that Prof. Macy's is the more complete hand-book of the two, while Mr. Fiske's is perhaps better adapted to bring home powerfully to the mind of the reader a limited number of carefully chosen facts and ideas. A valuable division of Prof. Macy's book is Part III, on The Administration of Justice, in which a large amount of information is given in regard to State and Federal courts and their respective jurisdictions and modes of procedure. The different departments of the Federal Government are well described in Part IV, as well as the methods followed by the two Houses of Congress in the dispatch of business. Part V deals particularly with Constitutions—chiefly, of course,