The researches of Niebuhr and several other distinguished German scholars have thrown a new light on Roman History, and enabled us to discover the true constitution of that republic which once ruled the destinies of the known world, and the influence of whose literature and laws is still powerful in every civilized state, and will probably continue to be felt to the remotest posterity. These discoveries have, however, been hitherto useless to junior students in this country; the works of the German critics being unsuited to the purposes of schools, not only from their price, but also from the extensive learning requisite to follow them through their laborious disquisitions. The editor has, therefore, thought that it would be no unacceptable service, to prefix a few Introductory Chapters, detailing such results from their inquiries as best elucidate the character and condition of the Roman people, and explain the most important portion of the history. The struggles between the patricians and plebeians, respecting the agrarian laws have been so strangely misrepresented, even by some of the best historians, that the nature of the contest may, with truth, be said to have been wholly misunderstood before the publication of Niebuhrs work: a perfect explanation of these important matters cannot be expected in a work of this kind; the Editors trust that the brief account given here of the Roman tenure of land, and the nature of the agrarian laws, will be found sufficient for all practical purposes.
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