Category Archives: Joseph Story

No Man Can Well Doubt the Propriety of Placing a President of the United States Under the Most Solemn Obligations to Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

“No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. It is a suitable pledge of his fidelity and responsibility to his country; and creates upon his conscience a deep sense of duty, by an appeal, at once in the presence of God and man, to the most sacred and solemn sanctions, which can operate upon the human mind.” — Joseph Story (1833)

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Filed under Constitution, Founding Fathers, God & Government, Government Accountability, Joseph Story, Rule of Law

The Constitution is to Have a Fixed, Uniform, Permanent Construction

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

“Temporary delusions, prejudices, excitements, and objects have irresistible influence in mere questions of policy. And the policy of one age may ill suit the wishes or the policy of another. The constitution is not subject to such fluctuations. It is to have a fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be, so far at least as human infirmity will allow, not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.” — Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

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Filed under Abuse & Misuse of Power, American Exceptionalism, Constitution, Federalism, Founding Fathers, Freedom/Liberty, Government Accountability, Joseph Story, Limited Government, Rule of Law

The Duty Imposed Upon the President…

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

“[T]he duty imposed upon [the president] to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will ‘preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.’ The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose; and without it, be the form of government whatever it may, it will be utterly worthless.” — Joseph Story

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Filed under Abuse & Misuse of Power, Balance of Power, Checks & Balances in Government, Constitution, Enumerated Powers & Delegated Authority, Founding Fathers, Joseph Story, Rule of Law

Constitutions Are Instruments of a Practical Nature…

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

“Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriety, for elaborate shades of meaning, or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness or judicial research. They are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings.” — Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/story/.

Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee and The Amistad, and especially for his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833. Dominating the field in the 19th century, this work is a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. It is the first comprehensive treatise on the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and remains a critical source of historical information about the forming of the American republic and the early struggles to define its law. His father was Dr Elisha Story, a member of the Sons of Liberty who took part in the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Dr Story moved from Boston to Marblehead during the American Revolutionary War. His first wife, Ruth (née Ruddock) died and Story remarried in November 1778, to Mehitable Pedrick, nineteen, the daughter of a wealthy shipping merchant who lost of his fortune during the war. Joseph was the first-born of eleven children of the second marriage. (Dr Story also fathered seven children from his first marriage.) In November 1811, at the age of thirty-two, Story became the youngest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President James Madison on November 15, 1811, to a seat vacated by William Cushing, and was confirmed by the United States Senate, and received his commission, on November 18, 1811. Story remains the youngest Supreme Court Justice at appointment. Here he found a congenial home for the brilliance of his scholarship and the development and expression of his political philosophy. In 1829 he moved from Salem to Cambridge and became the first Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University, meeting with remarkable success as a teacher and winning the affection of his students, who had the benefit of learning from a sitting Supreme Court justice. He was a prolific writer, publishing many reviews and magazine articles, delivering orations on public occasions, and publishing books on legal subjects which won high praise on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Filed under Constitution, Founding Fathers, Joseph Story, Limited Government, Representative Government, Republican Government, Rule of Law

“Republics are Created by the Virtue, Public Spirit and Intelligence of the Citizens…”

Joseph Story

“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” – Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

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Filed under Character, Constitution, Education & Learning, Founding Fathers, Freedom/Liberty, Individual Responsibility, Joseph Story, Tyranny, Virtue, Will & Consent of the People

Republics are Created by the Virtue, Public Spirit and Intelligence of the Citizens

Joseph Story

“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” – Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833.

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Filed under Character, Democratic Republic, Joseph Story, Republican Government, Virtue

The Right of Citizens to Keep and Bear Arms Has Justly Been Considered as the Palladium of the Liberties of a Republic

Joseph Story

“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia.  The friends of a free government cannot be too watchful, to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men… The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers.  It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people.  The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” – Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833.

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Filed under Bill of Rights, Conservative Principles, Constitution, Freedom/Liberty, Human Rights/Natural Rights, Joseph Story, Limited Government, Patriotism, Second Amendment, Tyranny