A new nation has appeared within the United States since the Civil War, but it has been only accidentally connected with that catastrophe. The Constitution emerged from the confusion of strife and reconstruction substantially unchanged, but the economic development of the United States in the sixties and seventies gave birth to a society that was, by 1885, already national in its activities and necessities. In many ways the history of the United States since the Civil War has to do with the struggle between this national fact and the old legal system that was based upon state autonomy and federalism; and the future depends upon the discovery of a means to readjust the mechanics of government, as well as its content, to the needs of life. This book attempts to narrate the facts of the last half-century and to show them in their relations to the larger truths of national development.
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