Front Page Titles (by Subject) Publisher's Note - The American Commonwealth, vol. 1
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Publisher’s Note - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 1 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell, 2 vols (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols.
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The first edition of James Bryce’s The American Commonwealth appeared in 1888. It was published in London by Macmillan & Co. as a three-volume set and is the only edition of the book to be released in England. A two-volume edition of the work, using smaller type, was published at the same time in New York, and all subsequent editions have been limited to two volumes.
Two chapters in this first edition were written by Americans so that Bryce could obtain an American copyright (at that time the United States had not joined the International Copyright Union). Seth Low, a leader of the municipal reform movement and later president of Columbia University and mayor of New York, wrote chapter 52, “An American View of Municipal Government in the United States”; and Professor Frank J. Goodnow of Columbia University, a prominent political scientist and author of pioneer studies in the field of public administration, wrote chapter 88, “The Tweed Ring in New York City.”
In 1889, Macmillan reprinted the first edition but omitted the Goodnow chapter on the Tweed Ring because it had become the object of a libel suit. This chapter was also suppressed in the second edition of the work, which was published in 1893 with many revisions and additions. Bryce later rewrote the Goodnow chapter, however, and changed the title to “The Tammany Ring in New York City.” It was introduced in the extensively revised third edition published in 1910. But Bryce did not significantly alter the substance of this controversial chapter. He used every name that Goodnow had used and simply moderated the tone and updated the story.
The publisher heralded the 1910 edition as a “new edition completely revised throughout with additional chapters.” The changes were not as extensive as this suggests, but Bryce had added a great deal of new material since the first edition, including supplementary materials on political parties and amendments to the Constitution, and new chapters on American universities and colleges, immigration, the South since the Civil War, and what was then called “the Negro problem.” Seth Low also made modest revisions of his chapter on municipal government for the third edition.
In all of its essential attributes, the third edition published in 1910 represents Bryce’s final and most mature reflections on American institutions. In 1914, Bryce brought some statistics and the appendix up to date, and he apparently made a few additional minor corrections and additions before his death in 1922; but these changes did not significantly alter the work. Macmillan continued to publish the updated third edition in New York as late as 1941. The 1941 edition of The American Commonwealth, which encompasses all of the changes, corrections, and additions to the first three editions entered by Bryce, was used in the preparation of this new Liberty Fund edition.
In this new edition of Bryce’s classic, the reader will also note that the appendix has been expanded to include an essay by Bryce entitled “The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville” (originally published in 1887 by Johns Hopkins University) and two contemporaneous book reviews of The American Commonwealth, published in 1889, by Woodrow Wilson and Lord Acton, respectively.
Although capitalization and punctuation have been modernized for the convenience of the reader, Bryce’s style, including spelling and grammar, has been preserved intact. Footnotes and bracketed material are those of Bryce, except as otherwise noted.