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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.
Foreword, vii Note on the Text, xix Note on Tucker’s Numbering of the Amendments, xxi On the Study of Law, 1
On Sovereignty and Legislature, 18
Of the Several Forms of Government, 21
View of the Constitution of the United States, 91
Of the Unwritten, or Common Law of England; And Its Introduction into, and Authority Within the United American States, 313
Of the Right of Conscience; And of the Freedom of Speech and of the Press, 371
Of the Cognizance of Crimes and Misdemeanours, 395
On the State of Slavery in Virginia, 402 Index, 447