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TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
TOGETHER WITH A CONSIDERATION OF THE
CIVIL RIGHTS AND DISABILITIES
AND OF THE
EFFECT OF WAR ON CONTRACTS
WITH ALIEN ENEMIES
J. U. D., D. C. L., LL. D., OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME
LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY
The present work is primarily a commentary on the Act of Congress of October 6, 1917, known as the Trading with the Enemy Act. This Act was not passed until six months after the declaration of a state of war with the German Empire and, therefore, transactions during this period are governed by the common law. Furthermore, the Act provides that the common law shall govern in all matters not within the scope of the enactment, and leaves the important topics of the effect of war on contracts, enemy litigants, the suspension of statutes of limitation, interest on debts due to enemies, the status of resident enemy subjects, of interned enemies, and of prisoners of war, devises and bequests by and to enemies, the rights of enemy heirs and next-of-kin, and many other topics to be determined almost entirely by the common law or by State laws in force at the outbreak of the war. It is, consequently, of paramount importance to consider the common-law provisions and the State statutes relating to these topics.
While the purely administrative questions arising under the Act of Congress will probably receive their final determination during or shortly after the war, the questions as to the effect of the Act of Congress or of the common-law provisions on private rights will occupy the attention of the bench and bar for many decades after the conclusion of peace. A study of the cases arising out of the Civil War will show that while most of the cases on these points were decided in the period between 1865 and 1885, the leading case on the effect of war on the relation of principal and agent was not decided by the Supreme Court of the United States until 1898.