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238                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
yeomanry had disappeared. They could meet together in
town meetings, and have village centres scattered about;
and cities could arise with the growth of business, while at
the other end of the English settlements the county-system
prevailed, requiring a considerably larger district than a town-
ship, and devised for judicial purposes rather than for those
of religious and social communion. Town life, therefore,
and social life formed the manners far more at the north than
at the south.
While slavery thus affected the forms of society, it affected
society also in its habits and divisions. At the north labor
was always respectable and the laborer could become with
ease a landholder, so as to take a part in town and other
government. In the lands of slavery, the mass of farm-
laborers being negroes and slaves, labor was not respectable
unless among the settlements in the upper country above the
falls in the rivers. Yet there were very considerable numbers
of white persons owning small tracts of land, who had to
labor for themselves. The inevitable result was to depress
and degrade these poor whites ; and the result of the whole
mode of life, which scattered a few whites over a large area,
and rendered it impolitic if not unsafe to have slaves taught,
was to make a school system difficult; while in the northern
colonies schools were spread over all the hills, and learning, as
well as religion, was a prime interest of society and of politi-
cal communities.
2. The colonies were learning, by the events of their history
Early attempts at anc* the experience of their institutions, the dis-
confedcration. ciplinc of self-government! It is not necessary
here to repeat what de Tocqueville and others had said of the
importance of our institutions in developing a political in-
stinct and a self-governing practical power. One or two
points, however, need to be adverted to. One is that dangers
and wars in which England was engaged naturally called
forth some efforts for concerted action. Such was the union
of the four New England colonies in 1643, which had been
suggested several years before, and was now actually set on