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of dollars out of the city and into the pockets of detested
But these discriminations and exactions of one State as against the trade of another, this fierce commercial rivalry, this internecine warfare which threatened the commercial destruction of some States and the undue elevation, prosperity and dominance of others, were not the only reasons for the insistent demand, which preceded and finally controlled the Constitutional Convention in 1887, in regard to the establishment of a system of just and equitable regulation of commerce between the States by an authority fairly representing them all.
The question of commercial regulation, in addition to its commercial relation to the trade between the existing States, possessed also a most important and commanding political aspect.
The development of the great West was then going on and had been stimulated by the emigration thither from the older States incident to the readjustments after the war, and the settlement of the whole western region was proceeding with great rapidity. The West was spoken of by George Washington as a "rising world," and signified particularly, in the minds of the statesmen of that day, the territory now constituting the States of Tennessee and Kentucky and the States afterwards carved out of the territory northwest of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi rivers. The question of the future political affiliations of this large and important territory was a question of prime and of vast im portance to the then existing States. Great Britian was on the northern boundary with its Dominion of Canada, and Spain on the south commanded the mouth, and hence commanded the navigation, of the Mississippi River. The course of trade is determined by the inducements that are offered and the facilities it can command. And political relationships are strongly influenced by commercial ties and interests. It was therefore one of the most important problems of that day to bind this great and developing western country to the eastern States by the ties of intimate commercial intercourse. This could not be done if the eastern States could enrich themselves by imposts upon the commerce paid for by the people of the West or by excluding the competitive products of the West from the eastern markets.
Great Britian or Spain, close neighbors, on the north and south, could easily outbid such a policy of narrowness and greed as the people of the West saw already in operation in many of the most important eastern States, and it was apparent that, whether or not such a policy should be adopted, could not be safely left to the individual States.
George Washington, in speaking of the future political affiliations of these pioneer western people, said:
"If we cannot bind these people to us by interest, and it it not otherwise to be affected but by a commercial knot, we shall be no more to them after a while than Great Britian or Spain, and they may be as closely linked with one of those powers as we wish them to be with us, and, in that event, they may be a severe thorn in our side."
It thus became politically, as well as economically, necessary to find a way of fairly regulating commerce in the interest of all, free from the narrowness, the greed and the selfishness of particular States.
The only way of remedying these commercial evils, which were flagrant and were universally recognized, and of meeting the political exigencies of the situation, was, according to the practically unversal belief of the day, to exclude the States from the power to regulate commerce among the States and with foreign nations, and to confer that power upon a central authority which should fairly and equitably represent them all.
The public consciousness on this subject was, prior to the convention, indicated in a great variety of ways and from a great variety of sources.
Alexander Hamilton declared for a central government with "complete sovereignty over all that relates to war, peace, trade, and finance."
James Monroe, as chairman of a committee of Congress, in 1785 submitted a report declaring that:
"The United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article, **** and of regulating the trade of the States, as well with foreign nations as with each other.'
James Madison moved in the General Assembly of Virginia a resoluton for a convention of delegates of all the States "to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to examine the relative situation and trade of the said States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations be necessary to their common interest and permanent harmony,"
There were similar expressions of view in the legislatures of Rhode Island, of Connecticut, of New Jersey, in resolutions of town meetings and in reports of committees of Congress.
The Madison resoluton resulted in the assembling of the Annapolis Convention in 1786 and in a recommendation, by the delegates there assembled to consider the regulation of commerce, that Congress should call a general convention of all the
States to meet in Philadelphia on the second Monday in May, 1787, "to devise such further provisions as shall appear to be necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union."
This was the convention which framed the Constitution, and the declaration of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Cook vs. Pennsylvania, 97 United States, 574, is amply justified, to the effect that:
"A careful reader of the history of the times which immediately preceded the assembling of the convention which framed the American Constitution cannot fail to discover that the need of some equitable and just regulation of commerce was among the most influential causes which led to its meeting.'
The result of its deliberations on the four large subjects of national concern enumerated by Alexander Hamilton-which are the four fundamental essentials of national existence and efficiency and as to which Hamilton declared that the Federal Government should possess complete sovereignty, namely, the purse, war, peace, and commerce, is exhibited in the following clauses of the Constitution:
"That Congress shall have power:
"To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare. **
"To borrow money on the credit of the United States. "To regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.
"To declare war.
"To raise and support armies.
"To provide and maintain a navy.'
The fullness, the competency and the completeness of no one of these powers has ever been questioned, except of the power to regulate commerce.
It is universally recognized that it is a right of each State that the Federal Government shall provide for the common defense; that the Federal Government shall determine as between
peace and war; that it shall raise and support armies and shall equip and mantain a navy.
But there are other rights of the States not less important and not less sacred. These include the right to avail them. selves, separately and individually, of the protection guaranteed to them and to their people by the Federal Constitution against the selfishness in trade of their sister States.
In adopting the Commerce Clause of the Constitution they intended to secure protection against this very thing. In the light of the history of its adoption, is it not, since the Constitution, a right of New Jersey that New York shall not regulate the trade between them as it did when it excluded the products of New Jersey industry from the New York markets; is it not a right of the State of Connecticut, since the Constitution, that its products shall not be excluded from the markets of New York and Boston by State action, and is it not since the Constitution, a right of each of the States that Virginia and North Carolina and Tennessee and the great food-producing States of the Wset shall not be able, as Virginia and North Carolina once did, to put an embargo upon the shipments of their products beyond their respective borders, and shall not be able to exclude the people of the other States from the riches of their farms, of their forests, of their mines, and of their factories? Is it not a right of each State that Congress alone, which represents all, shall be the exclusive arbiter of what is right and just in interstate and foreign trade, and that no State shall be permitted to advance itself at the expense, and to the disadvantage of the others, perchance by its narrowness, its greed, and its selfishness in trade?
The existence of this exclusive power in Congress to regulate interstate and foreign commerce is of no less importance— is in fact of far larger importance as a State's right now, than it was when the Constitution was adopted.
Commerce itself in these one hundred and twenty-six years has assumed a far greater consequence in the affairs and destinies of men and of nations, than it had in those early days. Steam and electricity have come with their mighty revolutionizing influence and have brought all the States and all the nations into close and intimate commercial relationship. Men no longer deal in trade most largely with their immediate neighbors, but find it