From Confederation to Nation is a constitutional history of the United States in the nineteenth century. To be more exact, it is an examination of the operation of the Federal Constitution from 1835 (the year of John Marshall's death) to 1877 (the end of Reconstruction).

Although the book is. rather short (only 243 pages, including index), it is packed with information and analysis. None of the important American constitutional developments of the period is excluded from discussion. The thesis of the book is that between 1835 and 1877 the United States was transformed from a loose confederation with a weak central government into a nation whose central government possessed both the military strength to restrain rebellious states from leaving the Union and the political authority to protect individual rights from abridgment under color of state authority. In overview, the book is. a successful effort ,to support :this thesis by tracing constitutional developments between 1835 and 1877.