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View of the Constitution of the United States

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by St. George Tucker
Foreword by Clyde N. Wilson

Published in 1803 by a distinguished patriot and jurist, View of the Constitution of the United States represents the first extended commentary of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

View of the Constitution of the United States

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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.

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