STORY, JOSEPH - Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. 3 vols. 1833.
First Edition of the First Important Work on the American Constitution Story, Joseph [1779-1845]. 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. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company, 1833. 3 volumes. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5-1/2"). Recent quarter morocco-stamped calf over marbled boards in period style, contrasting lettering pieces and gilt fillets to spines. Small inkstain to fore-edge of first volume, light toning to text. A handsome set. $10,000. * First edition. Story's Commentaries was the most substantial and influential work written on the American Constitution before the Civil War, and it remains an important work today. Written while Story was Dane Professor at Harvard Law School and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, it presented a strongly Nationalist interpretation. It is divided into three books. Book I contains a history of the colonies and discussion of their charters. Book II discusses the Continental Congress and analyzes the flaws that crippled the Articles of Confederation. Book III begins with a history of the Constitution and its ratification. This is followed by a brilliant line-by-line exposition of each of its articles and amendments. Comparing it to the Federalist, James Kent said that Story's work was "written in the same free and liberal spirit, with equal exactness and soundness of doctrine, and with great beauty and eloquence of composition. (...) Whoever seeks...a complete history and exposition of this branch of our jurisprudence, will have recourse to [this] work, which is written with great candor, and characterized by extended research, and a careful examination of the vital principles upon which our government reposes.": cited in Marvin, Legal Bibliography (1847) 669-670. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 2914.USD 10000.00 [Appr.: EURO 7922.75 | £UK 6173 | JPą 1098322] Book number 60522
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