ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WORKS EVER WRITTEN ON THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION: STORY'S COMMENTARIES, FIRST EDITION, 1833
STORY, Joseph. 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 and Cambridge: Hilliard, Gray and Brown, Shattuck, 1833. Three volumes. Octavo, modern full brown sheep, earlier red morocco spine labels. $14,000.
First edition of this influential three-volume treatise, one of the most important works ever written on the American Constitution, second in significance only to The Federalist.
Comparing Story's Commentaries to The Federalist, James Kent wrote, "It is written in the same free and liberal spirit, with equal exactness and soundness of doctrine, and with great beauty and eloquence of composition" (American Law I: 241). Alexis de Tocqueville, in his work on American democracy, drew heavily on Story's Commentaries, which when translated into French and German earned Story an international reputation. "The judicial station of the author, his opportunities for hearing constitutional questions mooted and settled, for the last quarter of a century, his habits of patient and thorough investigation, give a weight and value to Judge Story's writings upon Constitutional Law, which few similar works can claim… Taking The Federalist as the basis of his Commentaries, he advocates a liberal construction of the palladium of our liberties, in order to attain a proper exercise of the functions of the government… he sustains his positions with great power of argument, fullness of illustration, and by indisputable authorities" (Marvin, 669).
"Joseph Story, considered perhaps the most learned scholar ever to sit on any American court, was also the youngest man ever named to the Supreme Court. Story was soon the Court's leading supporter of Marshall's nationalistic views and became a virtual second in doctrine to Marshall himself. When he joined the Court, it was entering upon its historic period of constitutional construction, and Story participated in the landmark decisions of the next two and a half decades. In 1829, while he was still on the Court, Story became the first Dane Professor of Law at Harvard. His appointment signaled the reorganization of Harvard Law School and its emergence as the first modern school of law. Despite his heavy judicial duties, he taught two of the three yearly terms at the school and found time to publish a number of significant works that constituted the first great specialized treatises on American law… as a law teacher and writer on the subject, he had no peer" (Schwartz, The Law in America, 110-11). Howes S1047. Sabin 92291. Owner stamp on II:25; occasional notations—generally underlining—in pencil.
Scattered light foxing. Handsomely bound.