The True Nature and Character of Our Federal Government
by Abel Upshur
In 1833, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story published Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Among other contentions, Story sought to convince Americans that the Constitution had been the product of a single group of people – “We the People” – and that it had been intended to bring about a centralized government. Seven years later, Virginia lawyer and politician Abel Upshur wrote this blistering critique of Story and his conclusions. Upshur claims that much of Story’s analysis rested on an incomplete understanding of American and constitutional history, or ignored that history altogether. Along the way, Upshur reiterates the traditional rights of the states under the original Constitution, including the right of nullification. While Story’s argument has gained favor in academia and Washington, Upshur’s rests on a more solid historical and legal basis and deserves to be rediscovered by modern students of the Constitution.
Praise for The True Nature and Character of Our Federal Government
“(This book) is one of the finest and most systematic defenses of the Virginian states’ rights school of constitutional interpretation ever written -and yet hardly anyone today has even heard of it, much less read it. No plank of the nationalist theory is left standing in the wake of Upshur’s relentless arguments from reason and history.” – Tom Woods, author of Nullification
What to Read First
What to Read Next