Philadelphia: Published by Carey and Lea... 1823. 31, [1 blank] pp. Bound into modern wrappers. Lightly rubberstamped title page, light to moderate foxing. Good+.
Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits a State from enacting any "Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts." This Clause was a source of much excitement in the early Republic. Several early Supreme Court cases held that Clause to prohibit interference by popular majorities, acting through their State legislatures, with vested property rights. Thus the Dartmouth College Case invalidated the New Hampshire legislature's attempt to abolish Dartmouth's Charter and convert the college into a State institution. Fletcher vs. Peck upheld the corrupt Georgia legislature's sales of the Yazoo lands and struck down subsequent legislation that sought to rescind those sales. Such restrictions on exercise of the popular will were abhorrent to Jeffersonians.
Earle's scarce Essay objects to these restrictions: "Principles of natural right, or enlightened conscience," should deny "the power of one generation to make contracts, obligatory on another, and that of a king to make engagements, binding on a people whose earthly existence commences hundreds or thousands of years" later. He makes his further argument that the doctrine is not constitutionally required. He renders a close examination of English law, the debates at the Constitutional Convention, and Supreme Court precedents.
Cohen 9352. OCLC 42725937  [as of December 2015]. Not in Marke or Harv. Law Cat. See, Mendelson, New Light on Fletcher v. Peck, 58 Yale Law Journal 567 . Item #32598