tions particularly pertaining to the proper relationship be tween the states

Tions particularly pertaining to the proper

This preview shows page 38 - 40 out of 74 pages.

tions-particularly pertaining to the proper relationship be- tween the states and the federal government-depending on which of many historical interpretations one accepts or which era one emphasizes. Thus one plunges into the historiography of The Federalist and the Constitution, learning from both exten- sive research and competing theories. IV. THE HISTORIANS' VIEW OF The Federalist AND THE CONSTITUTION Virtually all nineteenth century constitutional historians agreed that the Constitution's ratification was a political tri- umph of patriotism and rationality over parochialism. However, Beard's thesis that the Constitution was a triumph of economic self-interest destroyed that consensus about the Framers' mo- tives. Understandably, Beard's work provoked many re- sponses-both for and against his thesis. A glance at each of these segments of the study of constitutional history-the Fed- eralist historians, Beard's interpretation, and responses to Beard-illuminates the struggle to ratify the Constitution. A. The Federalist Historians The view that the Constitution's ratification was a political triumph of patriotism and rationality over parochialism was wel- comed by a Supreme Court dominated by Chief Justice Mar- shall, who had written a glowing biography of George Washing- ton between 1804 and 1807.191 Additionally, Chief Justice Story, who wrote his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1 92 in 1833, maintained a Federalist perspective after he reached the bench. Story praised The Federalist as "a cele- THE FOUNDING FATHERS 22 (1974). 191. J. MARSHALL, THE LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON (1926 ed. Fredericksburg, Va.) (lst ed. Philadelphia 1804-1807). 192. J. STORY, supra note 29. HeinOnline -- 1985 BYU L. Rev. 100 1985
Image of page 38
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS brated commentary." '1 93 A typical section of Story's Commenta- ries frequently referred to Kent's Commentaries, Rawle's works, Elliot's Debates, and The Federalist. For example, while study- ing the commerce clause, Story cited The Federalist fourteen times, Rawle's works twice, and Kent's works five times. 1 4 Story extolled Kent's work: "I gladly avail myself to this, as well as of all other occasions, to recommend his learned labors to those who seek to study the law, the Constitution, with a liberal and enlightened spirit."' 1 While Story frequently referred to Kent in his works, Kent also cited Story and The Federalist in his Commentaries. Kent acclaimed: "I know not, indeed, of any work on the principles of free government that is to be compared, in instruction and in- trinsic value, to this small and unpretending volume of the Fed- eralist; not even if we resort to Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavel, Montesquieu, Milton, Locke, or Burke." 196 Historian George Curtis found that The Federalist was re- ally Hamilton's triumph: He was very ably assisted in the Federalist by Madison and Jay; but it was from him that the Federalist derived the weight and the power which commanded the careful attention of the country, and carried conviction to the great body of intelligent men in all parts of the Union.' 97 As Douglass Adair pointed out in 1944,
Image of page 39
Image of page 40

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture