It has seemed fitting, at this second meeting of the Association in New Orleans, where it was organized a quarter of a century ago, to give some attention to significant happenings during this period, in the affairs of the Association, in the field of political action, and in the analysis and interpretation of political phenomena. At least two former presidents have discussed some phases of these topics; but there is perhaps room for a difference of approach and emphasis.
When this Association was organized, the systematic study and teaching of political problems was but slightly developed. Only a few courses in public law and government were given in some of the larger universities. Of the twenty-five persons who were present at the organization of the Association, and the 214 who became members during the first year, a large proportion were primarily interested in history, economics, and other social studies with political bearings, rather than in political problems themselves.
In the constitution of the Association, its object was stated to be: “The encouragement of the scientific study of politics, public law, administration, and diplomacy.” In the first presidential address, President Goodnow outlined the field of work of the Association as including political theory, constitutional and administrative law, comparative legislation, historical and comparative jurisprudence, and political parties. He also noted the opportunity of the Association to secure the active coöperation of teachers of these subjects, and to bring together the student and those actively engaged in political life. A further indication of the plans of those who established the Association may be seen in the appointment of a series of standing committees on different branches of the field outlined, and the reorganization of these a year later into sections.