During the 19th century, the contractual clause was the subject of many contentious lawsuits. In 1810, for example, the Supreme Court was asked to interpret the clause in the context of the great Yazoo land fraud scandal, in which the Georgian legislature allowed the sale of land to speculators at prices so low that the agreement smacked of corruption at the highest levels of state government. Angry at the passage of a law allowing the sale, a mob of Georgians attempted to lynch members of the legislature who had supported the deal. When the sale was finally cancelled, land speculators appealed to the Supreme Court. In his unanimous judgment, Fletcher v. Chief Justice John Marshall asked the seemingly simple question, « What is a contract? » In his response, « a pact between two or more parties, » Marshall asserted that while the Yazoo agreement may have been corrupted, it was still a constitutionally valid « contact » under the treaty`s clause. He added that the Georgian State did not have the right to declare the sale of the land invalid, as this would have violated the obligations arising from the contract. It is commonly said that John Locke, the proponent of the theory of social contract and natural rights, was one of the intellectual godfathers of the U.S. Constitution. But for Locke and other social contract theorists, the biggest challenge was understanding how ordinary individuals could form a state that would allow them to escape the uncertainties of living in the state of nature. The influence of natural law theory is evident in many state constitutions, such as the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, whose explicit purpose is to form a stable order to protect the « natural rights » of its members. See Preamble to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. No State shall levy levies or duties on imports or exports without the consent of Congress, except to the extent absolutely necessary for the enforcement of its inspection laws; and the net proceeds of all duties and duties levied by a State on imports or exports shall be for the use of the United States Treasury; and all such laws are subject to revision and controversy by Congress.

It is also clear that an exception to fair compensation is not the only one that must be interpreted in the contractual clause for it to be meaningful. Some treaties are concluded by fraud or coercion, and certainly these common law defences to their application are not disturbed by constitutional requirements. At the very least, this simple observation means that a version of police violence must be read into the constitution to cover these eventualities. It became common in Brown v. Maryland (1827), which dealt with the import/export clause of Article I, Section 10, Clause 2 and recognized that the « police power » included at least « the removal of gunpowder. » Brown, in turn, raises the interpretive challenge of how to determine which forms of regulation survive the literal application of the treaty clause beyond the obvious cases of gunpowder and other potential nuisances. in any case, to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the district (not more than ten square miles), which may become the seat of the government of the United States by cession of certain states and passage of Congress, and to exercise the same authority over all places acquired with the consent of the legislature of the state in which it is to be situated, for the construction of forts, magazines, arsenals, shipyards and other necessary buildings; and No tax or duty may be levied on goods exported from a State. No title of nobility shall be conferred by the United States: and no person who holds any office of gain or trust among them may accept gifts, emoluments, offices, or titles of any kind from any king, prince, or foreign state without the consent of Congress. However, the confusion only worsens because some of the key provisions of Article I, Section 10, may affect individual rights if, as Professor Rakoke notes, they are understood as federal controls on what sovereign states are allowed to do to their citizens. In some of these cases, such as the adoption of ex post facto laws and performance registers, it is not a question of reserving certain tasks to the national government by denying them to the States. Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 prohibits Congress from passing performance certificates or retrospective legislation in the same manner that Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 applies to states. The equality of the two prohibitions has nothing to do with the separation of powers between levels of government, but with the belief that asking certain people for special treatment or the retroactive imposition of criminal sanctions for acts that were lawful in their time is very similar to universally applicable natural law protection. In fact, much of the debate at the Constitutional Convention was not about the appropriateness of these prohibitions, but about whether they were really necessary, since prohibited activities were generally condemned as despicable in the natural law tradition.

See Daniel Troy, ex post facto, in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Today`s broader debate, in its most general form, raises the question of whether a rational baseline review or stricter control should be applied to claims claimed under the contractual clause, both in terms of the scope of their basic scope and the scope and power of the exceptions. This debate is only one of many facets of the choice between the classical liberal and progressive views of constitutionalism, which in the 1930s turned heavily to the progressive vision where it still largely finds itself today. It is gratifying to note that these two clauses have generally not played a central role in constitutional disputes. The same is not true of the contractual clause, which reads partly as a limitation of jurisdiction and partly as a protection of the natural law of contracts. The clause itself was borrowed from the earlier provision of the North-West Ordinance of 1787, which stated: « It is understood and declared that no law shall ever be promulgated or in force in the said territory which in any way interferes with private contracts or obligations in good faith and without fraud. previously formed. Article I, Section 10 contains a long and somewhat varied list of prohibitions concerning the power of States to engage in certain activities.

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