Story: Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833)


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Story’s Commentaries is one of the chief cornerstones of early American jurisprudence, along with Tucker’s edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries and Kent’s Commentaries on American Law. It is the first comprehensive treatise ever written on the U.S. Constitution, and remains a great source of historical information of the formation and early struggles to define the American republic. It also is organized in a way antithetical to modern books on the subject, rather than starting with judicial review and leapfrogging to areas of main interest, Story methodically goes through the Constituion phrase by phase, covering topics most other constitutional commentaries ignore.

In three volumes, with a preliminary review of the constitutional history of the colonies and states before the adoption of the constitution. Footnotes have been converted to chapter endnotes, and spelling has been modernized. Books 1-3, 853 pages, 67 chapters, with chapter bookmarks. Available in .pdf and .prc file formats for reading on your PC, e-reader, tablet or smart phone. This is a fully digital edition of this work – it is not a hard copy publication or facsimile edition. This electronic edition © Copyright 2003, 2005 Lonang Institute.  Click here to view this book in its entirety.

“The plan of the work will, therefore, naturally comprehend three great divisions. The first will embrace a sketch of the charters, constitutional history, and ante-revolutionary jurisprudence of the Colonies. The second will embrace a sketch of the constitutional history of the States during the Revolution, and the rise, progress, decline, and fall of the Confederation. The third will embrace the history of the rise and adoption of the Constitution; and a full exposition of all its provisions, with the reasons, on which they were respectively founded, the objections, by which they were respectively assailed, and such illustrations drawn from contemporaneous documents, and the subsequent operations of the government, as may best enable the reader to estimate for himself the true value of each.”    J. Story, from Commentaries on the Constitution.

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