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American Constitutional Law



Author of Black's Law Dictionary, and of Treatises on Judgments, Tax

Titles, Constitutional Probibitions, Etc.

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The first edition of this work having been received with such a gratifying degree of favor by the profession as to exhaust the edition within a comparatively short time after its publication, the author has taken advantage of the opportunity to subject the whole book to a thorough revision. Much new matter has been added, many interesting topics of constitutional law have been more elaborately developed, and suitable reference has been made to the doctrines of the latest and most important decisions. This has resulted in enlarging the book by about eighty pages, but without changing its general plan or scope. It is hoped that it may now enter upon a new and more widely extended career of usefulness.

H. C. B. Washington, D. C., June, 1897.


This book is intended primarily for the use of students at law and instructors in the law schools and universities. It contains a condensed review of all the leading principles and settled doctrines of American constitutional law, whether arising under the federal constitution or those of the individual states. Tyrese principles and doctrines are stated in the form of a series of brief rules, or propositions, numbered consecutively throughout the book, and are explained, amplified, and illustrated in the subsidiary text, aad supported by the citation of pertinent authorities. The necessary limitation of space, as well as the purpose and plan of the work, have precluded any attempt at exhaustive discussion or minute elaboration of the great topics of constitutional law. But the book is believed to be comprehensive of the general subject and sufficiently detailed to


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equip the student with an accurate general knowledge of the whole field. And since the solution of new questions must be sought, not alone in the application of precedents, but also in the settled rules and the accepted canons of interpretation, and since the mind is often best prepared for the investigation of a specific problem by a rapid synoptical review of the results already worked out by the courts in that department to which it belongs, it is hoped that general practitioners may find the book to possess a special value for themselves. It would have been undesirable, even if it were possible, to discuss in these pages all the thousands of reported cases which bear upon the subject of constitutional law. Such an accumulation of authorities would have cumbered the work to the. point of destroying its utility. But a very considerable number of the more important and valuable decisions have been suitably referred to, and more, perhaps, than any student would have time or occasion to read. But it was thought that both student and practitioner would appreciate the advantage of being directed to the principal authorities, especially as they may have occasion to study certain special topics with more detail and particularity than the handbook itself could undertake.

The subject of constitutional law is not free from disputed and unsettled questions. In respect to these, the author has invariably stated what he conceives to be the sound rule or the best principle for their interpretation. If his disposition of such topics should at times appear summary, or even dogmatic, it must be ascribed to the necessity for condensation, not to any failure to appreciate the possible arguments on both sides of the question.

H. C. B. Washington, D.,C., January, 1895.

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