Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States

William W. Crosskey

Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States
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William W. Crosskey

2,025 pages | Three-volume set | © 1953, 1980
Cloth $290.00 ISBN: 9780226121345 Published November 1980
When the first two volumes of William Crosskey's monumental study of the Constitution appeared in 1953, Arthur M. Schlesinger called it "perhaps the most fertile commentary on that document since The Federalist papers." It was highly controversial as well. The work was a comprehensive reassessment of the meaning of the Constitution, based on examination of eighteenth-century usages of key political and legal concepts and terms. Crosskey's basic thesis was that the Founding Fathers truly intended a government with plenary, nationwide powers, and not, as in the received views, a limited federalism.

This third volume of Politics and the Constitution, which Crosskey began and William Jeffrey has finished, treats political activity in the period 1776-87, and is in many ways the heart of the work as Crosskey conceived it. In support of the lexicographic analysis of volumes 1 and 2, volume 3 shows that nationalist ideas and sentiments were a powerful force in American public opinion from the Revolution to the eve of the Constitutional Convention. The creation of a generally empowered national government in Philadelphia, it is argued, was the fruition of a long-active political movement, not the unintended or accidental result of a temporary conservative coalition.

This view of the political background of the Constitutional Convention directly challenges the Madisonian-Jeffersonian orthodoxy on the subject. In support of his interpretation, Crosskey amassed a wealth of primary source materials, including heretofore unexplored pamphlets and newspapers. This exhaustive research makes this unique work invaluable for scholars of the period, both for the primary sources collected as well as for the provocative interpretation offered.
Contents
Introduction
I. Our Unknown Constitution
Part I - The National Power Over Commerce
II. The Supreme Court's Theory of the Incompleteness of the National Commerce Power, and Its Evil Consequences for the Country
III. Interstate Commerce versus Commerce Among the Several States
IV. The Eighteenth Century's Usage of Commerce and Its Synonyms
V. The Meaning of the Phrase To Regulate Commerce: Herein of the Evidence in "the Commercial Writers" and in John Dickinson's "Farmer's Letters"
VI. The Meaning of the Phrase To Regulate Commerce: Herein of Police (or Polity) and Policy, and of the Evidence in the Duane Papers from the First Continental Congress
VII. The Meaning of the Phrase To Regulate Commerce: Herein of the Evidence  in the Popular Discussions of Wage-fixing and Price-fixing during the American Revolution
VIII. Early Interpretations of the National Commerce Power: Herein of the Views in the Ratification Campaign, and during the First Administration of the Government
IX. Early Interpretations of the National Commerce Power: Herein of Roads and Canals, and the Great New York Steamboat Monopoly
Part II - The Interrelationships Between the Commerce Clause and the Imports-and-Exports, Ex-Post-Facto, and Contracts Clauses of Section 10 of Article I
X. The True Meaning of the Imports and Exports Clause: Herein of "Interstate Trade Barriers" in 1787
XI. The True Meaning of the Ex-Post-Facto Clauses: A Chapter of Judicial Statesmanship from the Eighteenth Century
XII. The True Meaning of the Contracts Clause: Herein of the Extent to Which the National Commerce Power Was Made "Sole and Exclusive"
Part III - A Unitary View of the National Governing Powers
XIII. The Scheme of Draftsmanship of the Constitution, in the Light of the Accepted Rules of Interpretation of the Eighteenth Century
XIV. The Constitutional Context as It Relates to the General Legislative Power of Congress
XV. The Reasons for the Enumeration of Congressional Powers: The Influence of the Royal Prerogative
XVI. The Reasons for the Enumeration of Congressional Powers: The Miscellaneous Cases
XVII. The Totality of Congressional Authority as Here Presented, and as Generally Conceived
XVIII. Eighteenth-Century "General Jurisprudence" and "The Common Law"
XIX. "The Common Law" and the Administration of Justice in Eighteenth-Century America
XX. The National Judicial Powers under an Eighteenth-Century Interpretation: Herein of the Supreme Court's Judicial Supremacy and the Common-Law Jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States
XXI. The National Judicial Powers under an Eighteenth-Century Interpretation: Herein of These Powers with the Second Category of "Cases" Minimally Taken
XXII. The Tenth Amendment and the National Powers
Part IV - The Supreme Court's Intended Place in the Constitutional System
XXIII. The Initial Recognition of the Supreme Court's Position as the Nation's Juridical Head
XXIV. The Early Attacks upon the National Judiciary: Herein of the Loss of the Common-Law Jurisdiction
XXV. The Supreme Court's Loss of Supremacy with Respect to State Law and Common Law: Herein of the Rise of the Theory of Two Independent Judiciaries without a Common Head
XXVI. The Supreme Court's Loss of Independence with Respect to State Law and Common Law: Herein of the Subordination of the National Courts to the State Judiciaries
XXVII. The Supreme Court as a Board of Legislative Review and the Pre-Constitutional Precedents for Its Acting in This Capacity
XXVIII. Judicial Review in the Constitution
XXIX. Judicial Review in the Federal Convention and the First Congress: Herein, also, of Marbury v. Madison
Part V - The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Limitations on State Governmental Authority
XXX. The Supreme Court's Destruction of the Constitutional Limitations on State Authority, Contained in the Original Constitution and Initial Amendments
Part V - The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Limitations on State Governmental Authority
XXX. The Supreme Court's Destruction of the Constitutional Limitations on State Authority, Contained in the Original Constitutional and Initial Amendments
XXXI. The True Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment
XXXII. The Supreme Court's Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment
In Conclusion
XXXIII. Solutions and Problems
Appendices
A. The Political Establishments of the United States of America
B. The Observator
C. The Duane Papers from the First Continental Congress of 1774
D. The Articles of Confederations
E. The Constitution of the United States
F. Letter of Jasper Yeates to William Tilghman
G. The Supreme Court's First Paid Reporter
H. Unusual Abbreviations Used in the Notes
Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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