The object of this little book is to give instruction in the rudiments of social science and to do so in such language and in such a form as will make the subject clear to the youngest students.
The author has stated what he has to say in the shape of a series of lessons, each of which should be carefully read and understood before the pupil passes on to the next. It is hoped that when he has read through the whole, he will have got some insight into the laws which regulate social life. It does not follow that knowledge will make the person who possesses it discreet and wise, but no person will be discreet and wise without knowledge.
After that training which is necessary for each person in order that he may earn his living, no knowledge can be more usefully turned to account than that which explains the circumstances under which men live together in a civilized society and confer benefits on each other. It is this knowledge that the author hopes to have given in the following pages.
In preparing that volume for American Students, I have made no changes in the original plan, and have not pretended to add anything to the clear and satisfactory text of the author. I have merely translated his references to currency, measurements, trades, etc., from the English to the American terms, and changed some of the more important illustrations, so as to make them apply to American circumstances.
I do not of course suppose that the American boy who will read this volume, does not understand what is meant by a pound sterling, or a stone weight, but as the lesson to be taught is one of the principles, and not of comparative values, 1 think the changes I have made will save him from giving time to any unnecessary details.
The spirit and purpose of the book are excellent, and its teachings combine to a rare degree, simplicity and thoroughness. A full understanding of the principles it explains will give our young American students the basis of the knowledge that is indispensable for the clear-headed citizens and wise legislators, they should aim to become.
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