Cases and Materials: An Introduction to Legal History


an on-line casebook prepared by


Elizabeth Dale

Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher,

Shandong University Law School

Jinan, People’s Republic of China


Associate Professor, US Legal History

Department of History, University of Florida

Affiliate Professor of Legal History, Levin College of Law

(on leave)

© Elizabeth Dale January 2005







Winthrop’s Model of Christian Charity (1630)

The Pynchon Court Record (1639-1640)

Laws and Liberties (1649)


The Eighteenth Century

Declaration of Independence (1776)

Constitution of Virginia (1776)

Constitution of Delaware (1776)

Records from the York County, South Carolina Court (1788)

Records from the York County, South Carolina Court (1796)


the Nineteenth Century

Dartmouth College (1819)

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Enfield Toll Bridge v. Connecticut River (Conn 1828)

Charles River Bridge Case (1837)

Farwell v. Boston and Worcester Railroad (Mass 1842)

Commonwealth v. Hunt (Mass 1842)

State v. Mann (N.C. 1829)

Commonwealth v. Aves (Mass. 1836)

Nickerson’s Case (N.Y. 1837)

People ex rel. Barry v. Mercein (N.Y. 1842)

Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments (1848)

De Beaumont and de Tocqueville on the American Penitentiary System (1833)

Brief History of Juvenile Justice

Brown v. Kendall (Mass 1850)

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Thomas v. Winchester (New York 1852)

“Beginnings of Columbia Law School in New York” (1858-1860)

“The Judicial Scandals of 1869”

Illinois v. Turner (Illinois 1870)

Bradwell v. Illinois (1873)

Biography of Kate Kane Rossi, from Stanford University Law School’s Women’s Legal History Biography Project

Civil Rights Cases (1883)

Baylies v. Curry I (1889)

Baylies v. Curry II (1889)

Plessy v. Fergusen (1896)

Holden v. Hardy (1898)



The 20th Century

Mansfield’s Case (Pennsylvania 1903)

Commonwealth v. Fisher (Pennsylvania 1905)

Lochner v. New York (1905)

Muller v. Oregon (1908)

Loewe v. Lawlor (1908)

MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (New York 1916)

West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937)

Palko v. Connecticut (1937)

United States v. Carolene Products (1938)
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Mapp v. Ohio (1961)

Baker v. Carr (1962)

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Loving v. Virginia (1967)

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) (O’Connor opinion)

United States v. Lopez (1995)