Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 2.djvu/362

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344 HARVARD LA W REVIEW.

in their constitution building, as well as in general legislation, a tendency to particularize too much ; to impose too many restraints. This, however, when carefully considered, may prove to be a fault less serious than its opposite, — a fault that, at least, leans to virtue's side. The higher the civilization of any people, the more extensive will be the recognition of inherent and indefeasible rights ; and as these can have substantial value only when the law protects them, our institutions may be expected to expand with social and industrial progress, and the citizen will be subjected to new restraints for the protection of new rights which were either not clearly perceived before, or which have sprung from new conditions. Under our peculiar system we leave these rights, for the most part, to the protection of the States ; but in what I shall say on this occasion I shall avoid speaking par- ticularly of the distinctions between State and Federal law. The proper method of study for the constitutional system of the United States I conceive to be, to consider it as a unity, with all the mutual interaction and interdependence of rights and obliga- tions. Chief Justice Taney once said : " The constitution of the United States, and every article and clause in it, is a part of the law of every State in the Union, and is a paramount law." He might truly have added that State constitutions and laws are a necessary part of the federal system ; the Union itself having been formed and perfected in order to their preservation. This is sometimes overlooked, and the Federal system and the State sys- tem are discussed as if each was complete in itself, instead of being, as each is, the necessary complement of the other ; and, in thus discussing thetn, we get one-sided and imperfect views, which lead us into dangerous errors.

If we compare the constitution of the United States with any constitution that was in existence when it was formed, two things will particularly arrest the attention. The first of these is the greater particularity and completeness of the federal constitution ; the fact that it goes into all the particulars of governmental authority. In other countries such constitutions as then existed were for the most part confined to the settlement of a few leading principles ; scarcely going farther in some instances than to fix the course of descent for the crown. The second is, the constitution of the United States was fully written out ; its every section, sen- tence, and phrase agreed upon and formulated; whereas other