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View of the Constitution of the United States

St. George Tucker

Publication Year: 2012

As professor of law at the College of William and Mary, St. George Tucker in 1803 published View of the Constitution—the first extended, systematic commentary on the United States Constitution after its ratification and later its amendment by the Bill of Rights. View was originally part of Tucker's "Americanized" or "republicanized" edition of the multivolume Commentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone. Generations of American law students, lawyers, judges, and statesmen learned their Blackstone—and also their understanding of the Constitution—through Tucker. As Clyde N. Wilson notes, "Tucker is the exponent of Jeffersonian republicanism . . . in contrast to the commercial republicanism of New England that has since the Civil War been taken to be the only true form of American philosophy." In addition to the entirety of View, the Liberty Fund volume includes seven other essays from Tucker's renowned edition of Blackstone. These include "On the Study of Law," "Of the Unwritten, or Common Law of England," and "Of the Several Forms of Government."

St. George Tucker (1752–1827) was an officer in the American Revolutionary Army, a Professor of Law, justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, judge of the Federal District Court for Virginia by appointment of President James Madison, progenitor of a long line of jurists and scholars, and stepfather of John Randolph of Roanoke.

Clyde N. Wilson is Professor of History and Editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun at the University of South Carolina.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. v-6

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pp. vii-xvii

St. George Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States was the first extended, systematic commentary on the Constitution after it had been ratified by the people of the several states and amended by the Bill of Rights. Published in 1803 by a distinguished patriot and jurist,...

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Note on the Text

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pp. xix-xxi

The texts for all the writings of St. George Tucker published herein are taken from essays he appended to his edition of Blackstone: Blackstone’s Commentaries: With Notes of Reference, to the Constitution and Laws, of the Federal Government of the United States; And of the Commonwealth...

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Note on Tucker’s Numbering of the Amendments

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pp. xxiii-24

A word to the reader who otherwise is likely to be disconcerted by Tucker’s manner of labeling the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The First Congress proposed twelve amendments, designed to meet objections raised by Virginia and other states. Two of these amendments,...

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On the Study of Law

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pp. 1-17

When a work of established reputation is offered to the public in a new dress, it is to be expected that the Editor should assign such reasons for so doing, as may not only exempt him from the imputation of a rash presumption, but shew that some benefit may be reasonably expected to...

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On Sovereignty and Legislature

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pp. 18-20

The generality of expression in this passage might lead those who have not considered with attention the new lights which the American revolution has spread over the science of politics, to conclude with the learned commentator, that, “By the sovereign power, is meant the...

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Of the Several Forms of Government

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pp. 21-90

The concise manner in which the commentator, has treated of the several forms of government, seems to require that the subject should be somewhat further considered: this has been attempted in the following pages; in the course of which the student will meet with considerable...

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View of the Constitution of the United States

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pp. 91-312

Having in the preceding pages taken a slight view of the several forms of government, and afterwards examined with somewhat closer attention the constitution of the commonwealth of Virginia, as a sovereign, and independent state, it now becomes necessary for the American student...

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Of the Unwritten, or Common Law of England; And Its Introduction into, and Authority Within the United American States

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pp. 313-370

Having accompanied the commentator, to the fountain head, from whence he deduces the common law of England, it becomes us to trace its progress to our own shores. This, as it respects the commonwealth of Virginia, considered as an independant state, unconnected with any other, might have been regarded as...

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Of the Right of Conscience; And of the Freedom of Speech and of the Press

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pp. 371-394

The right of personal opinion is one of those absolute rights which man hath received from the immediate gift of his Creator, but which the policy of all governments, from the first institution of society to the foundation of the American republics, hath endeavoured to restrain, in...

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Of the Cognizance of Crimes and Misdemeanours

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pp. 395-401

The complicated system of government in the United States, imposes upon us the necessity of a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, in order to ascertain to what department of it any particular subject appertains. In no respect is this recurrence more necessary, than...

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On the State of Slavery in Virginia

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pp. 402-446

In the preceding Enquiry1 into the absolute rights of the citizens of unitedAmerica,wemust not be understood as if those rights were equally and universally the privilege of all the inhabitants of the United States, or even of all those, who may challenge this land of freedom as their...


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pp. 447-478

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878698
E-ISBN-10: 1614878692
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865972018

Page Count: 504
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None

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Subject Headings

  • Mysticism.
  • Common law -- United States.
  • Slavery -- Virginia.
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