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COMMERCE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Intercourse by way of trade and traffic between different peoples or states and the citizens or inhabitants thereof, including not only the purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities, but also the instrumentalities and agencies by which it is promoted and the means and appliances by which it is carried on, and the transportation of persons as well as of goods, both by land and by sea. Brennan v. Titusville, 153 U. S. 289, 14 Sup. Ct. 829, 38 L. Ed. 719; Railroad Co. v. Fuller, 17 Wall. 5GS, 21 L. Ed. 710; Winder v. Caldwell, 14 How. 444, 14 L. Ed. 487; Cooley v. Board of Wardens, COMMERCE 221 COMMERCIAL 12 How. 299, 13 L. Ed. 996;Trade-Mark Cases. 100 U. S. 90, 25 L. Ed. 550; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 6 L. Ed. 23; Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat 448, 6 L. Ed. 67S; Bowman v. Railroad, 125 U. S. 465, 8 Sup. Ct. 6S9, 31 L. Ed. 700; Leisy v. Hardin, 135 U. S. 100. 10 Sup. Ct. 681, 34 L. Ed. 128; Mobile County v. Kimball, 102 U. S. 691, 26 L. Ed. 238; Corfield v. Coryell, 6 Fed. Cas. 510; Fuller v. Railroad Co., 31 Iowa, 207; Passenger Cases, 7 How. 401, 12 L. Ed. 702; Robbins v. Shelby County Taxing Dist., 120 U. S. 4S9, 7 Sup. Ct. 592, 30 L. Ed. 094; Arnold v. Yanders, 50 Ohio St. 417, 47 N. E. 50, 60 Am. St. Rep. 753; Fry v. State, 63 Ind. 502, 30 Am. Rep. 23S; Webb v. Dunn, 18 Fla. 724; Oilman v. Philadelphia, 3 Wall. 724, 18 L. Ed. 96. Commerce is a term of the largest import. It comprehends intercourse for the purposes of trade in any and all its forms, including the transportation, purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities between the citizens of our country and the citizens or subjects of other countries, and between the citizens of different states. The power to regulate it embraces all the instruments by which such commerce may be conducted. Welton v. Missouri, 91 U. S. 275. 23 L. Ed. 347. Commerce is not limited to an exchange of commodities only, but includes, as well, intercourse with foreign nations and between the states; and includes the transportation of passengers. Steamboat Co. v. Livingston, 3 Cow. (N. Y.) 713; People v. Raymond, 34 Cal. 492. The words “commerce” and “trade” are synonymous, but not identical. They are often used interchangeably; but, strictly speaking, commerce relates to intercourse or dealings with foreign nations, states, or political communities, while trade denotes business intercourse or mutual traffic within the limits of a state or nation, or the buying, selling, and exchanging of articles between members of the same community. See Hooker v. Vandewater, 4 Denio (N. Y.) 353, 47 Am. Dec. 258; Jacob; Wharton


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