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The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801

In the most thorough examination to date, David P. Currie analyzes from a legal perspective the work of the first six congresses and of the executive branch during the Federalist era, with a view to its significance for constitutional interpretation. He concludes that the original understanding of the Constitution was forged not so much in the courts as in the legislative and executive branches, an argument of crucial importance for scholars in constitutional law, history, and government.

"A joy to read."—Appellate Practive Journal and Update

"[A] patient and exemplary analysis of the work of the first six Congresses."—Geoffrey Marshall, Times Literary Supplement

344 pages | 6-1/2 x 9-1/4 | © 1996

History: American History

Law and Legal Studies: The Constitution and the Courts

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Shortened Titles
Part One: The First Congress, 1789-1791
Introduction to Part One
1. The New Government
I. Congress
A. Rules
B. Records
C. Officers
D. Oaths
E. Instructions
F. Qualifications
G. Elections
H. Enumeration
I. Investigation
II. The Special Role of the Senate
A. The French Consular Convention
B. The Fishbourn Affair
C. The Southern Indians
D. The Fort Harmar Treaties
III. The Executive Branch
A. The President’s Role in Legislation
B. Emoluments and Titles
C. The Department of Foreign Affairs
D. Other Officers
IV. The Courts
A. The Lower Federal Courts
B. The Supreme Court
2. Substantive Legislation
1. Taxes and Trade
A. Tariffs and Tonnage
B. Whiskey
C. Ship Licensing
D. Inspection Laws
E. Seamen
F. The Slave Trade
II. Spending
A. Appropriations
B. Lighthouses
C. Other Spending Proposals
III. The Public Credit
A. Paper Money
B. The Question of Full Payment
C. The Assumption of State Debts
IV. The Bank of the United States
V. Military, Indian, and Foreign Affairs
A. Soldiers
B. Indians
C. Pirates
VI. Miscellany
A. Naturalization
B. Patents and Copyrights
C. Crimes
D. States
E. Territories
F. The Seat of Government
VII. The Bill of Rights
Conclusion to Part One
Part Two: The Federalists, 1791-1801
Introduction to Part Two
3. The Second Congress, 1791-1793
I. Congress
II. The President
A. The Electoral College
B. Succession
C. Special Elections
III. The Post Office
A. Delegation
B. Federalism and Other Problems
IV. The Mint
V. The Courts
VI. The Militia
A. Organization
B. Employment
VII. The Army
VIII. The Treasury
IX. Codfish
X. Fugitives
XI. Summary
4. The Third Congress, 1793-1795
I. Neutrality
A. The Proclamation
B. The Aftermath
II. Defense
A. The Scope of Federal Authority
B. The President and Congress
III. St. Domingo
IV. Insurrection
V. Citizenship
VI. The Eleventh Amendment
VII. The District of New Hampshire
VIII. The Southwest Delegate
IX. The Flag
5. The Fourth Congress, 1795-1797
I. The Jay Treaty
A. Negotiation and Approval
B. The Role of the House
II. Tennessee
III. Congressional Powers
A. Spending—Again
B. Direct Taxes
C. Perils of the Deep
D. Kidnapping and the Right to Petition
IV. Randall and Whitney
6. The Fifth and Sixth Congresses, 1797-1801
I. Troubles with France
A. Declaring the Peace
B. The Provisional Army
C. Volunteers
D. The French Treaties
II. The Enemy Within
A. Aliens
B. Sedition
C. The Expulsion of Matthew Lyon
D. The Cases of Duane and Randolph
E. All’s Well That Ends Well
III. Odds and Ends
A. The Impeachment of Senator Blount
B. Mr. Pinckney’s Gifts
C. The Mississippi Territory
D. The District of Columbia
IV. The Election of 1800
A. The Grand Committee
B. Mr. Bayard’s Conscience
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States

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