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The Riverside Press, Cambridge.


J K 241

Copyright, 1868,

Copyright, 1886,

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge:
Electroty ped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co


The third edition of this treatise was published in 1875. It contained an Appendix of about thirty pages embracing an examination by the author of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States upon the great questions of Constitutional Law, up to that period, and this Appendix has now been incorporated into the original text. Since the issue of that edition many important cases have arisen, especially upon the recent Amendments to the Constitution, and have received the most elaborate examination in the highest tribunal of our land. This is especially true as to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, and as to the power of states to regulate commerce, or to impair the obligation of contracts. The recent Amendments are considered by the editor, and the results of their investigation before the Supreme Court are stated in sections 256 a to 256 bb. The additions upon the regulation of commerce by state legislation are mostly found in sections 373 e to section 374.

Section 538 a and sections 586 6 to 586 m present the later adjudications upon the obligation of contracts; while the recent decisions on the Legal Tender Acts may be found stated in 268 a. Other sections by the editor on several important provisions of the Constitution may be found scattered through the book, most of which are indicated by the abbreviation of ED. after the cases cited. This method of distinguishing the editor's labor from that of the late lamented author was preferred to the use of brackets.

It was foreign to the idea of the author to attempt to cite all the cases in the state courts which may have some bearing on the subject of Constitutional Law, and the editor has been governed by the same considerations.

The editor has been greatly aided in the collection of the materials for this edition by Mr. Samuel C. Bennett, of the Boston Bar, and the new Index of Cases and Table of Contents have been wholly prepared by Carter P. Pomeroy, Esq., of the California Bar.

EDMUND H. BENNETT. Boston, March 1, 1886.



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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 exist

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