The Law of the American Constitution: Its Origin and Development

The Law of the American Constitution: Its Origin and Development

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The Law of the American Constitution: Its Origin and Development

The Law of the American Constitution: Its Origin and Development

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The American federal system is based upon the Constitution of the United States. That instrument was adopted to make "more perfect" the union which having had its beginning in the common allegiance of the colonies to the British Crown, during the war for independence, was welded closer by the necessity for common acrgion and found it first constitutional expression in the Articles of Confederation. Nineteen articles of amendment have been added to the Constitution in the hundred and thirty-four years since its adoption. It is hoped that in the first three chapters of this book a clear picture is given of the making of the Constitution, of the nature of the federal system which was set up, and of the principles which underly the amending power.

The Constitution of the United States first of all establishes a national government, and sets off to it certain fields in which it shall be supreme, at the same time imposing upon it certain specific prohibitions and restrictions. It was, however, very far from the purpose of the framers of that instrument to do away with the separate States or to reduce them to mere administrative units. Yet the grants of powers to the national government did of necessity operate as limitations upon the previous sovereign powers of the States; and to these implied limitations were added others which are express. In the second part of this book, I have dealt with the national government in its executive, judicial, and legislative departments, discussing the powers which are granted to each of them, and the limitations which are placed upon their activities. In part three are considered the restrictions placed upon the States, and the extent of the powers which may still be exercised by them.

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