Title page from The American Commonwealth, vol. 1

Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols. The American Commonwealth, vol. 1

James Bryce examined “the institutions and the people of America as they are.” in The American Commonwealth, first published in London in three volumes in 1888. This edition’s expanded appendix includes Bryce’s 1887 essay, “The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville,” and contemporaneous (1889) reviews of The American Commonwealth by Woodrow Wilson and Lord Acton.

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Key Quotes

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Assuming that there was to be such a magistrate [the office of President], the statesmen of the Convention, like the solid practical men they were, did not try to construct him out of their own brains, but looked to some existing models. They therefore made an enlarged copy of the state governor,…

Parties & Elections

Europeans often ask, and Americans do not always explain, how it happens that this great office, the greatest in the world, unless we except the papacy, to which anyone can rise by his own merits, is not more frequently filled by great and striking men. In America, which is beyond all other…

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

The direct domestic authority of the president is in time of peace very small, because by far the larger part of law and administration belongs to the state governments, and because federal administration is regulated by statutes which leave little discretion to the executive. In war time, however,…