First Report of the Landmark Dartmouth College Case [Trial]. [Dartmouth College Case]. Farrar, Timothy [1788-1874], Reporter. Report of the Case of the Trustees of Dartmouth College Against William H. Woodward. Argued and Determined in the Superior Court of Judicature of the State of New-Hampshire, November 1817. And on Error in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 1819. Portsmouth, N.H.: Published by John W. Forster, And West, Richardson, And Lord, Boston, . [iv], 406 pp. Octavo (9" x 5"). Later nineteenth-century three-quarter calf over marbled boards. Moderate rubbing to extremities with wear to corners, hinges cracked. Moderate toning and light foxing to text. Early owner signature and annotation to head of title page, interior otherwise clean. Ex-library. Bookplate to front pastedown, two small inkstamps to title page, residue from card pocket to rear pastedown. A solid copy. $750. * First published report. This is probably the most important American case concerning the contract right of corporations. The New Hampshire legislature passed a bill in 1816 that revoked Dartmouth College's original charter and converted the college from a private to a state institution. The college challenged the constitutionality of this act in the state Supreme Court without success, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the state's decision in a landmark opinion based on the contract clause of the Constitution. This decision represented "an assurance for all investors in American corporate enterprises that the terms upon which they had committed their capital could not be unilaterally altered by a state. At a time when corporations were first being widely used, it thus encouraged the expansion of American business enterprise. The decision vested the Corporation with indestructible contract rights, even against its creator" (Schwartz, 86, 111). "By construing the contract clause as a means of protecting corporate charters from state interventions, Marshall derived a significant limitation on state authority. As a result, various forms of private economic and social activity would enjoy security from state regulatory policy. Marshall thus encouraged, through constitutional sanction, the emergence of the relatively unregulated private, autonomous economic actor as the major participant in a liberal political economy th.
Book number 64736