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In this year of ambitious new trade agreements, public attention has
turned once again to the relationship between the U.S. constitutional order
and global commerce. Though they may seem strictly contemporary
phenomena, neither "globalization" nor the many debates about it are new.
Indeed, they were present in a strikingly similar form in the founding era.
One of the many ways in which the Founders' Constitution differs
from current constitutional practice is in the arena of international trade.
The changing conception of the constitutional status of international trade
tracks the changing place of the American republic in the world of
commerce. It also reveals the international dimension of what Fishkin and
Forbath describe as "constitutional political economy," both in the founding
era and today.
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