Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States: With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States Before the Adoption of the Constitution
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018 M02 23 - 504 páginas
Joseph Story's extensive narration of the United States Constitution is grounded in the social and political history of the text, and the meticulous researches of the author. This edition includes all of the author's notes.
At well in excess of half a million words, the commentaries of Joseph Story upon the Constitution stand among the lengthiest and most thorough ever written. Believing that the Constitution must be understood in multiple contexts, Story commences by presenting a detailed history of the American Colonies - each is covered in turn, offering the reader insight into the culture and distinctions between what would become the first states of the Union.
The Revolutionary War was accompanied by the publication of the Articles of Confederation. These were a precursor to the Constitution of the USA, and Story examines the document accordingly. The establishment of a constitutional document is shown to be a defining and crucial trait of the incipient Republic, and Story demonstrates that from the outset the composition, formation and ratification processes were beset with differences of opinion and compromise. It took four years - from 1777 to 1781 - before the final text was agreed upon and formerly ratified.
The second volume contains Story's intensive analyses. Sentence by sentence, he navigates the Constitution and expounds upon all of its words. The powers delegated to the individual states and the responsibilities of bodies such as Congress and the Executive branch are detailed. We learn how each of these should interact and behave, the election terms they are assigned, and how legislation is passed. Piece by piece, Story describes the framework of the US government as intended by the Founding Fathers.
As Story's commentary progresses, we learn more about the proscribed functions of government - its role in finance and the creation of money, what infrastructure it is meant to create and maintain, and how it may interact with scientific and artistic progress. Its relation to the militia, and the power of individual states, are likewise examined. The serious crimes punishable by the government, such as treason, are discussed in great detail; throughout, the legal scholarship for which Joseph Story was renowned is in fullest evidence.
A renowned lawyer and judge, Joseph Story had a major role in shaping the laws of the United States between the 1810s and 1840s, a period where the young nation matured and grew in size, power and sophistication. He is generally viewed as an economic conservative instrumental in introducing property rights. The author is perhaps best known in modern times for his presence in the Supreme Court decision regarding the Amistad Africans; a much publicized landmark case, Story's role was in delivering the majority verdict that historically granted the Africans their freedom.
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