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The exchange of goods, products, or any type of Personal Property. Trade and traffic carried on between different peoples or states and its inhabitants, including not only the purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities but also the instrumentalities, agencies, and means by which business is accomplished. The transportation of persons and goods, by air, land, and sea. The exchange of merchandise on a large scale between different places or communities.

Although the terms commerce and trade are often used interchangeably, commerce refers to large-scale business activity, while trade describes commercial traffic within a state or a community.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

BILLS PAYABLE, COMMERCE. Engagements which a merchant has entered into in writing, and which he is to pay on their becoming due. Pard. n. 85.

COMMERCE, trade, contracts. The exchange of commodities for commodities; considered in a legal point of view, it consists in the various agreements which have for their object to facilitate the exchange of the products of the earth or industry of man, with an intent to realize a profit. Pard. Dr. Coin. n. 1. In a narrower sense, commerce signifies any reciprocal agreements between two persons, by which one delivers to the other a thing, which the latter accepts, and for which he pays a consideration; if the consideration be money, it is called a sale; if any other thing than money, it is called exchange or barter. Domat, Dr. Pub. liv. 1, tit. 7, s. 1, n. 2. Congress have power by the constitution to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes. 1 Kent. 431; Story on Const. Sec. 1052, et seq. The sense in which the word commerce is used in the constitution seems not only to include traffic, but intercourse and navigation. Story, Sec. 1057; 9 Wheat. 190, 191, 215, 229; 1 Tuck. Bl. App. 249 to 252. Vide 17 John. R. 488; 4 John. Ch. R. 150; 6 John. Ch. R. 300; 1 Halst. R. 285; Id. 236; 3 Cowen R. 713; 12 Wheat. R. 419; 1 Brock. R. 423; 11 Pet. R. 102; 6 Cowen, R. 169; 3 Dana, R. 274; 6 Pet. R. 515; 13 S. & R. 205.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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