1783-1815: Law and Justice: Chronology
1783-1815: Law and Justice: Chronology
- The Treaty of Paris is signed and establishes the legitimacy of Loyalist land claims.
- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts forbids slavery.
- Tapping Reeve opens the first proprietary law school in Litchfield, Connecticut.
- The state of New York outlaws slavery.
- Pennsylvania experiments with penal reform through the “wheelbarrow law,” a statute that requires convicts to labor on public works projects.
- New Jersey outlaws slavery.
- Benjamin Rush writes An Enquiry into the Effects of Public Punishments Upon Criminals, and Upon Society, a treatise against capital punishment.
- 25 Jan. Gen. William Shepherd routs insurgents under Daniel Shays at Springfield, Massachusetts.
- 21 June New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. With this ratification the Constitution becomes effective.
- 24 Sept. Congress passes the Judiciary Act.
- 26 Sept. Congress confirms President George Washington’s appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- 1 Feb. The first meeting of the U.S. Supreme Court occurs in New York City.
- 15 Dec. James Wilson begins his law lectures at the College of Philadelphia.
- Congress passes an excise or internal tax on whiskey.
- In Moore v. Cherry the South Carolina Supreme Court affirms the power of a judge to instruct a jury on the law.
- A decision is rendered in Chisholm v. Georgia, allowing a state to be sued by a citizen of another state.
- The College of William and Mary graduates America’s first law-degree candidate.
- The Whiskey Rebellion erupts in western Pennsylvania.
- 1 July John Rutledge is nominated Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after John Jay resigns from the post.
- 15 Dec. The Senate rejects Rutledge’s nomination as Chief Justice.
- In Ware v. Hylton the Supreme Court declares that federal treaties supersede state laws.
- John Adams is elected President of the United States.
- 4 Mar. Oliver Ellsworth is confirmed as Chief Justice.
- 18 Oct. Three agents of French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand demand a bribe from American envoys Elbridge Gerry, John Marshall, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.
- The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, overturning Chisholm v. Georgia.
- 18 June Congress enacts the Naturalization Act.
- 25 June Congress passes the Alien Act.
- 14 July The Sedition Act is ratified.
- 21 Aug. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice James Wilson dies.
- 20 Dec. Bushrod Washington, nephew of George Washington, is confirmed as Associate Justice.
- Fries Rebellion occurs in eastern Pennsylvania.
- Thomas Jefferson is elected President of the United States.
- Following a second trial, John Fries is again found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.
- Oliver Ellsworth resigns as chief justice.
- St. George Tucker succeeds George Wythe as professor of law at the College of William and Mary.
- 23 May John Fries is pardoned by President John Adams.
- 25 June The Alien Act expires.
- John Jay refuses reappointment as U.S. Supreme Court chief justice.
- 4 Feb. John Marshall is sworn in as chief justice.
- 13 Feb. Congress enacts a new Judiciary Act.
- 3 Mar. The Sedition Act expires.
- Congress repeals the Naturalization Act.
- Congress repeals the Judiciary Act of 1801.
- The Supreme Court decision Marbury v. Madison establishes the doctrine of judicial review.
- St. George Tucker publishes his edition of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769).
- Mar. Federal District Court Judge John Pickering of New Hampshire is impeached by the House of Representatives.
- Judge John Pickering is convicted by the Senate.
- Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Chase is impeached by the House of Representatives.
- 24 Mar. Thomas Jefferson’s first appointment to the Supreme Court, William Johnson, is confirmed.
- 4 Feb. Justice Samuel Chase’s trial begins in the Senate.
- 1 Mar. Chase is acquitted of all charges.
- 8 June George Wythe dies.
- 14 Dec. Thomas Jefferson’s second appointment to the Supreme Court, Henry Brockhoist Livingston, is confirmed as associate justice.
- Congress enacts the Embargo Act.
- 3 Aug. Aaron Burr goes on trial for treason.
- 1 Sept. Burr is found not guilty by a circuit court in Richmond, Virginia, on the grounds that he was not present when an overt act of treason was committed.
- Supreme Court Justice William Johnson defies President Thomas Jefferson and refuses to enforce the Embargo Act.
- In the United States v. Peters the Supreme Court declares that a state legislature cannot reverse a federal court decree.
- The Supreme Court renders an opinion in Fletcher v. Peck, declaring that a state legislature cannot abrogate a contract.
- Justice Samuel Chase dies.
- 18 Nov. Joseph Story and Gabriel Duvall are confirmed as associate justices.
- In the United States v. Hudson & Goodwin the Supreme Court holds that no federal court could exercise common law jurisdiction in criminal cases.
- The “American Blackstone” St. George Tucker is nominated to the circuit court in Virginia.
- 24 Aug. British troops capture Washington, D.C., and burn most of the public buildings. The Supreme Court chamber, located in a first-floor room in the Capitol, is gutted, and whatever furniture, books, and records remain are vandalized.
- Feb. Temporary quarters for the Supreme Court are established in the Pennsylvania Avenue home of Elias Caldwell, the court clerk.
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