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CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
TREATY CLAUSES OF THE CONSTITUTION ; CONSTRUCTION OF TREATIES;
WITH APPENDICES CONTAINING
OF DEPARTMENT OF STATE RELATIVE TO EXTRA-
AND A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF TREATIES.
ROBERT T. DEVLIN,
of the San Francisco Bar,
The two most important powers possessed by the national government under the Constitution of the United States are the power to declare war and the power to make treaties--powers which, for brevity and convenience, we may designate as the war power and the treaty power. By the Declaration of Independence, the American colonies became free and independent states, capable of entering into treaties and of making alliances with foreign nations.
Under the Articles of Confederation the right of sending and receiving ambassadors and of entering into treaties with other nations was conferred upon the Continental Congress. Treaties made under such authority had, however, no binding force upon the separate states, many of which passed laws completely nullifying their provisions. There was an entire absence of judicial power under the Articles of Confederation to enforce the obligations of a 'treaty, and Congress was unable to assure the other contracting party that its part of the bargain could be performed. The various states, in their sovereign capacity, might act as they willed, and there was no authority in the national government, then existing, to compel the fulfillment of national compacts.
These, and other causes, led to the adoption of the present Constitution of the United States, which declares that treaties made under its authority shall be the supreme law of the land, and that the judicial power of the federal government shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under such treaties. The Constitution contains other clauses, prohibiting the states from entering into treaties and placing the exercise of the treaty power in the hands of the President in co-operation with the Senate. Recent events have made the questions arising from the exercise of this power of great interest, and it has been my fortune to investigate, in an official capacity, on behalf of the United States, many of the questions considered in this volume.