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A STUDY OF
THE study here undertaken was suggested by a con
versation two years ago, on the problems arising
from the recent acquisition of our Insular Possessions, in which it was emphasized that there is one clause of the Constitution of the United States—the clause by which Congress is given power “to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States"—to which the Supreme Court has never attached a definite and certain meaning. Believing that the authors of the Constitution, in framing that instrument, almost simultaneously with the enactment, by the American Congress, of an ordinance for the administration of the Northwest Territory as a dependency of the American Union, must have intended the only clause on this subject to express the true principles of the administration of dependencies, as they believed them to be, I attempted to ascertain the correctness of this belief.
The inquiry necessitated a careful examination of the issues of the American Revolution, and, as a knowledge of the theory and practice of the administration of the American Colonies is essential to the understanding of these issues, my investigation extended back to the inception of the American Colonies in 1584. As a result of the inquiry, I found my belief fully corroborated--the clause in question in fact containing a statement of the principles of the administration of dependencies in a Federal Empire. I then examined the American, British, and European theory and practice from the adoption of the Constitution until the present time, to discover to