STORY, Joseph (1779-1845)
Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States
Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company; Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck and Co., 1833. 3 volumes, 8vo. xxxiv, , -494; , -555, ; , -776pp.
Contemporary sheep, expert repairs to joints
Provenance: James Jackson (early signature)
First edition of the first substantial treatise on the Constitution.
Story's Commentaries was the most substantial and influential work written on the American Constitution since the Federalist Papers. Written while serving as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the work defends both the powers of the federal government and economic liberty. The work begins with a review of American history before the Constitution, an analysis of the Articles of Confederation and a history of the writing and adoption of the Constitution. The chapters which follow lay out the rules of interpretation of the Constitution and then go through each of the provisions of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, line-by-line, to explain their intent, justification and application. Chief Justice John Marshall, to whom Story dedicated the work, wrote to Story after reviewing his copy: "I have finished reading your great work, and wish it could be read by every statesman, and every would-be statesman in the United States. It is a comprehensive and an accurate commentary on our Constitution, formed in the spirit of the original text."
Howes S1047; Sabin 92291; Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 2914.