First Edition of a Popular Treatise on the U.S. Constitution That was Cited to Justify Secession Rawle, William [1759-1836]. A View of the Constitution of the United States of America. Philadelphia: Philip H. Nicklin, Law Bookseller, 1825. vii, -347 pp. Octavo (8-3/4" x 5-1/2"). Recent period-style quarter calf over marbled boards, lettering piece and blind fillets to spine, endpapers renewed. Moderate toning, early owner signature (J.L. Aitken) and small faint later library inkstamp to head of title page, library marks to its verso, early owner annotation to p. 295. An appealing copy in a handsome binding. $1,500. * First edition. Rawle's treatise is one of the earliest works on the United States Constitution, and one of the most important. This text is significant also because it suggests that states have a right to secede from the Union. As Cohen observes, the popularity of this text, which was used at West Point and other schools throughout the country, "is generally considered to have influenced the leaders and supporters of the Confederacy, although in fact Rawle opposed secession: (Cohen). The annotation to our copy refers to secession. Reading "Vide Story on the Constitution p. 327," it is footnoted to the sentence reading: "The secession of a state from the Union depends of the will of the people of such state." Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 2893.
Book number 68748