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The occupation of an instructor of youth, is a most honorable and responsible one. The
persons who are, in a few years, to become our legislators, judges, and governors, are now in the process of training, in our public schools. Teachers should therefore realize the magnitude of their trust, since the future character and destiny of the nation depend so essentially upon the degree of ability and fidelity with which this trust shall be discharged.
In our common schools, chiefly, must the foundation be laid for our future statesmen. From this work, if it shall meet a favorable reception, not a few of them will receive their “first lessons." Its usefulness, however, will depend materially upon the manner in which it is received and used by teachers.
A teacher who desires to be in the highest degree useful, will cheerfully undertake the instruction of a class in civil government. The exercise may be made interesting to both teacher and scholars. The interest of the latter may be increased, by showing them the inseparable connection between good government and public and individual prosperity.
Notwithstanding a due familiarity of style and simplicity of illustration have been attempted, words and phrases have frequently become necessary, of which the limits of the work would not admit a full explanation. Teachers will therefore have occasion to tax their own resources in supplying the omission. This exercise will be alike profitable and interesting, both to the teachers and to their pupils.
Most of the chapters will be found too long for single lessons, especially for the younger scholars, and on passing through the work for the first time. Such portions only should be assigned to a class as may be learned well. Every section and every sentence which admits of easy explanation, ought to be understood by the scholar before proceeding to the next. And if, occasionally, a subject or ehapter shall be deemed too difficult for the young beginner, let it be passed over for the time. The observance of these directions is necessary, in order to keep up the interest of the scholar, without which he will make no very rapid pro ficiency in the study.
The questions upon some sections are not sufficiently numerous for a thorough exercise of the pupils. Instead of occupying greater space with printed questions, it was thought preferable to leave it to teachers to add questions of their own, as the capacities of their scholars and the nature of the subjects may require.