The Original Understanding of the Indian Commerce Clause

66 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2008


The United States Congress claims plenary and exclusive power over federal affairs with the Indian tribes, based primarily on the Constitution's Indian Commerce Clause. This article is the first comprehensive analysis of the original meaning of, and understanding behind, that constitutional provision. The author concludes that, as originally understood, congressional power over the tribes was to be neither plenary nor exclusive.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Indian Law, Native Americans, Indians, American Indians, Original Meaning, Original Understanding, Original Intent, Constitutional History, Commerce Clause, Commerce Power, Indian Reservations

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Natelson, Robert G., The Original Understanding of the Indian Commerce Clause. Denver University Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 201, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)

Independence Institute ( email )

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

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