International Executive Agreements: Democratic Procedure under the Constitution of the United States

By Wallace McClure | Go to book overview

Chapter 2 THE CENTURY OF ALOOFNESS 1817-1917

IT IS a matter of familiar historical record that subsequent to the unsatisfactory events of the years during which the United States first shared the losses and controversies and then entered into the actual hostilities of the Napoleonic period the thoughts of its people seemed to be concentrated upon internal developments. The nineteenth-century history of the United States is characterized by domestic pursuits. It is not true, however, that the record shows any diminution in the number of international acts to which the United States became a party. A glance at any chronological list will show that, on the contrary, throughout the ten decades between the general European wars that were formally ended at Vienna and the vaster conflict of the World War, both treaties and executive agreements appear in an increasing stream, which at the turn of the century became something of a torrent, whether measured by quantitative or qualitative analysis.

The executive agreements of the preceding period of approximately forty years were not too numerous for individual discussion. Many more years and many more agreements per year render it necessary in the present chapter to proceed by means of groups and examples. There is manifest the spice of variety, ranging all the way from letters rogatory1 to pharmacopoeial formulas2 and including in addition to the classes of agreements to be described, such difficult international questions as extradition,3 fugitives from justice,4 criminal trials,5 and the right to hold real estate in another country.6

A considerable proportion of the earliest agreements after 1817 were of the type already instanced in the case of the "Wilmington Packet" -- a reflection of the far-flung extent of American inter

____________________
1
2 Malloy 1697. See also USEA(83).
2
2 Malloy 2209.
3
3 Malloy 2637.
4
1 Malloy 360 (361).
5
2 Malloy 1669.
6
2 Malloy 1344.

-52-

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