The Science of Politics. By Sheldon Amos, M.A., author of "The Science of Law," etc., late Professor of Jurisprudence in University College, London. Pp. 490. Price, $1.75.
It is doubtful if any book could be offered to the American public of which they would be so little able to judge what it might be about, as a treatise on "the science of politics." It would rather be expected that the writer would choose some such title to give respectability and character to new political theories of his own, and it would at any rate be anticipated that the work would be largely of a visionary and speculative nature. Yet no such expectation would have been justified in the present instance. Professor Amos has given to the world an instructive and valuable contribution to the important subject which he has felt it incumbent upon him to undertake. It is first of all a moderate, judicious treatise, indulging in no extreme or extravagant views, and imbued throughout with the true scientific spirit. Professor Amos has this claim, which is probably an advantage in the treatment of his subject: he is not a man trained in the field of physical science who has felt that he had a mission to carry physical methods of study over into the political region to open a new dispensation of political philosophy. On the contrary, he is an erudite student of history, law, and civil institutions, and has made jurisprudence and the working of political constitutions a matter of life-long and critical investigation. His preparation has been in the general field which furnishes the subject-matter of his book, and he has come to the large conception of a science of politics through inquiry into the relations of political phenomena. From this consideration, his work will have a weight and a practical character which no amount of preparation in the special sciences could have given it. We are of opinion that Mr. Spencer's "Development of Political Institutions," dealing strictly with the subject from the point of view of historic evolution, is probably a more valuable contribution toward the organization of a political science than this work of Professor Amos, and yet it may not be so well adapted to interest general readers in the claims and grounds of this new subject. At all events, Professor Amos's book is better suited to the state of mind of politicians, who, being generally of the class of lawyers, will be more familiar with his data and the questions he discusses than they would be with the rigorous inquiries into the genesis of political ideas worked out by an analysis of primitive society. The plan of the work before us may be best gathered from a statement of the topics dealt with in its successive chapters. These are: I. "Nature and Limits of the Science of Politics." II. "Political Terms." III. "Political Reasoning." IV. "The Geographical Area of Modern Politics." V. "The Primary Elements of Political Life and Action." VI. "Constitutions." VII. "Local Government." VIII. "The Government of Dependencies." IX. "Foreign Relations." X. "The Province of Government." XL. "Revolutions in States." XII. "Right and Wrong in Politics."
Obviously the first implication of science is of laws or principles of a general nature, or that are universal in their operation. A science of politics, therefore, if there be such a thing, must deal with political phenomena in their most comprehensive forms, or as exemplified under wide diversities of constitution. It will be seen from the titles above enumerated that the range of discussion in the present volume is broad, and deals with all the chief fundamental problems relating