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LAW OF ELECTIONS
NOTES AND REFERENCES TO THE LATEST AUTHORITIES.
FREDERICK C. BRIGHTLY,
AUTHOR OF THE FEDERAL DIGEST; THE UNITED STATES DIGEST, ETC.
KAY & BROTHER, 17 AND 19 SOUTH SIXTH STREET,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
FREDERICK C. BRIGHTLY,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
COLLINS, PRINTER, 705 JAYNE STREET.
No questions have greater interest for a people possessed of the right of self-government, than those arising out of the exercise of the elective franchise; whilst other constitutional questions affect classes of the community, the ones treated of in this work have reference to the vital principles of our government and come home to every citizen of the republic. The working of cur system of election by ballot is, at the present time, the subject of anxious consideration by the British people and Parliament, and presents one of the nicest problems that can engage the attention of the Statesman and Politician. It is, therefore, strange, but nevertheless true, that no work has yet appeared, on this side of the Atlantic, which treats exclusively of the question of popular suffrage, though greatly needed both by the professional man and the general reader.
To supply this want, the author has been induced to make this Collection of Cases, and in the notes to present the numerous authorities that exist on this important
subject. Many of the cases are unreported, or are extant only in Legal Periodicals or scarce Volumes of Reports,
not accessible to the general student; others are selected from the Reports of distant States, not usually found in a lawyer's private library; and it is hoped the work will, therefore, prove acceptable to all who desire information. on this most interesting of all political questions.
It is, of course, impossible to write a work on a subject exclusively political in its character without an expression of the Author's views upon the subject treated of; a mere collection of decided cases can be made by any one, for his own use, by a reference to the Digests of the several States; but this work has an aim and a pure, and that is, to call public attention to what the Aut sincerely believes to be the greatest vice in our politial system, the delegation of discretionary powers, in political cases, to an elective Judiciary, holding by a limited tenure. He believes this to present the feature of greatest danger to the permanency of our institutions, and therefore, he has not hesitated to present his views on this subject in the plainest language that the English tongue is capable of using. He has used the reported cases to illustrate this evil characteristic of modern politics; the difference in the character of the older decisions made by independent judges, and the recent ones decided since this innovation has been made upon the free principles of our ancestors, cannot fail to strike the mind of any reflecting man. If the book shall have a
tendency only to call attention to this great evil, the labor of the Author will not have been thrown away.
In preparing the cases for the press, the Author has corrected numerous errors in the printed reports, and has adopted a uniformity of citation. If he has sometimes been severe in his criticisms, his excuse must be, that no work on a political subject would be worth the purchase, if the Author were not perfectly free and independent in the expression of his opinions; he has done so in no hostile spirit, but with the kindest feelings towards those judges whom he has thus reviewed.