In the chapters which have been gone before the constitutional relations which exist between the Federal Government upon the one side and the State upon the other side have been considered. In the present chapter a description will be given of the relations which exist between the several States.
Except as otherwise specifically provided by the federal Constitution, the States of the American Union, when acting within the spheres of government reserved to them, stand toward one another as independent and wholly separated States. The laws of the State have no force, and their officials have here no public authority, outside of their own territorial boundaries. As to all these matters their relations inter se are governed by the general principles of Private International Law or, as otherwise termed, the Conflict of Laws.
During the colonial period the judgments of the courts of the colonies were, as to one another, strictly foreign judgments. That is, they could be impeached for fraud or prejudice, and their merits re-examined. The inconvenience of this state of affairs was soon recognized, and in the Articles of Confederation it was provided that "Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State."1 The important difference between this provision and the corresponding one in the present Constitution is that in the latter Congress is given authority to fix by statute the manner in which these acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved and to determine the effect that shall be given them.
l Article IV.