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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
In preparing the work of which the third edition is now offered to the public, the principal purpose of the author was to furnish for general readers, for colleges, law schools, and other higher seminaries, and for the legal profession, a book adapted to their present wants and based upon the principles of constitutional interpretation which have been settled by the civil war and by the political events that followed it. Although, as the name indicates, it is an Introduction and does not purport to be an absolutely exhaustive treatise, yet all the purely constitutional questions which have at any time been passed upon by the highest national tribunal, are discussed and the results thereof are stated. In respect to some of these topics, where there has been a conflict of opinion between the federal and the state courts, or where the relative powers of the national and state governments have been somewhat undefined and uncertain, the treatment has been designedly made more full and minute. Among the more important of these topics are the powers of taxing and of regulating commerce, the military powers, the executive powers, the rights of citizenship, and state laws impairing the obligation of contracts. The work is thus intended for use as a text-book by the courts and the bar.
In determining the principles which underlie all others, in reference to the nature of the United States as a body politic and of its Constitution, an attempt has been made to construct a harmonious system of interpretation founded, not upon theoretical and a priori speculations, but upon historical facts, which shall at the same time recognize and uphold the nationality and absolute sovereignty of the United States and the supremacy of its government, and also maintain the essential existence and rights of the several states as necessary elements of the political order established by the one People in the Constitution which they adopted. While, therefore, the whole civil structure, federal and state, is made to rest upon the nationality and sovereignty of the United States, the construction that is advocated guards with equal care against any tendencies towards an undue centralization of power, and upholds the sacred principle of local self-government as the very groundwork of all civil and political liberty.
The text of the present edition has been carefully revised and corrected ; and whatever errors of fact or inaccuracies of statement had been discovered have been removed. An Appendix has also been added, which contains an abstract of all the decisions involving an interpretation of the Constitution, rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States since the publication of the first edition. The Public Law of the land authoritatively declared by the highest tribunal, is thus presented as it stands at the present day. The subject matter of this Appendix is arranged in an order conforming to that pursued in the body of the work, with appropriate subdivisions and headings, so that it can be easily referred to in connection with the discussions found in the original text. The additions thus made embrace many subjects of the highest theoretical and practical importance; among others, the nature of the Federal Union and its relations with the States, the status of citizenship with the rights and immunities of citizens, the interpretation of the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth amendments, the regulation of inter-state commerce, the extent and limits of the national and the state powers of taxation, — and the questions thus raised and determined, equal in magnitude and in their far-reaching effect any that were ever before passed upon by the national court of ultimate resort.
J. N. P. August, 1875.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
III. The partial National Theory
The United States is a nation and is sovereign .
SECTION II.- PERIOD OF THE CONFEDERATION.
THE NATIONAL ATTRIBUTES INVOLVED IN THE PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION.
SECTION 1. – DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE NATION.
SECTION II. - THE IMPORTANT AND DISTINCTIVE NATIONAL ELEMENTS IN THE
CONSTITUTION ITSELF; IN THE ATTRIBUTES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE GOV.
1. The Preamble.
2. The Enacting Clauses.