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This textbook about our Constitution and Government has been written especially for the use of the foreign born who are preparing themselves for their naturalization examinations as applicants to be made citizens of the United States. Immigrants who are seeking to become citizens must know a great deal about the kind of Government under which we live, and about the Constitution of the United States which created that Government, so that they may become intelligent and worthy citizens. This book contains 30 lessons which tell how we got our present Government and what it does for us and what we should do for it. Anyone who studies these lessons earnestly and in a proper spirit will not only learn a great deal about our country and how it is governed but will be a better citizen because of such study.

Citizenship of the United States is a priceless treasure; it is a guarantee that the person who possesses it will have many valuable rights and privileges; at the same time it requires that the citizen shall perform the obligations and duties necessary to safeguard this country from any possible enemy, both from within and without.

Dr. J. W. Studebaker, Commissioner of Education, was invited to join in setting up a committee to consider the need for a citizenship textbook, and the kind of a book it should be. With his cooperation there was called together a committee consisting of Dr. L. R. Alderman, Director, Education and Training Section, Work Projects Administration; Dr. Mildred J. Wiese, then Specialist, Curriculum and Teacher Education, Work Projects Administration; Dr. G. L. Maxwell, then Assistant to Dr. Alderman; Dr. Leon C. Marshall, Chairman, Department of Economics, Graduate School, The American University; Miss Maude E. Aiton, Administrative Principal, Americanization School, District of Columbia; Dr. William G. Carr, of the National Education Association; and Dr. Henry B. Hazard, Assistant to the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service appreciates especially the fine spirit of helpfulness extended by this committee and its valuable service in making this textbook possible. It was through the committee that the services of a writer in the field of Government were obtained, those of Dr. Catheryn Seckler-Hudson, professor of Political Science and Public Administration in the Graduate School of The American University. It is believed that in this text Dr. Hudson has developed a new and most interesting approach to the subject of citizenship. The book which she has produced should be a very welcome educational help to candidates for naturalization; but, beyond that, it offers an inspiring lesson in American history and Government to any American citizen, old or young, who may read it. Any reader who finishes this book should carry away with him a sound understanding of democracy.

JAMES L. HOUGHTELING. [Formerly Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization]

Foreword to Second Reprinted Edition This is a second reprint of the Federal Textbook on Citizenship, “Our Constitution and Government,” which was prepared while the Immigration and Naturalization Service was a part of the Department of Labor. A few minor changes have been made in this revision to bring the text up to date.


Special Assistant to the Attorney General, In Charge of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. FEBRUARY 1, 1941.

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Note on the Use of Words

In writing about so large a subject as Government it is not always easy to use short and simple words that are readily understood by persons who have newly learned our language. For this reason, readers of this book will find that each long or hard word is printed in italic type the first time it is used. At the end of each chapter, all the words which have been printed in italic type in that chapter will be found explained according to the particular sense in which each word has been used. At the end of the book, all of these words and their explanations are printed again arranged in alphabetical order.

It is believed that an understanding of most of these words will prove useful to students of this book in all of their future reading about American life and Government.


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