Joseph Story

Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1812 to 1845, during the Marshall Court and early-Taney Court eras. He is most remembered for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad case, and especially for his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833. Dominating the field in the 19th century, this work is a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. It is the second comprehensive treatise on the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and remains a critical source of historical information about the forming of the American republic and the early struggles to define its law.

Story opposed Jacksonian democracy, saying it was "oppression" of property rights by republican governments when popular majorities began (in the 1830s) to restrict and erode the property rights of the minority of rich men.[2] R. Kent Newmyer presents Story as a "Statesman of the Old Republic" who tried to be above democratic politics and to shape the law in accordance with the republicanism of Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall and the New England Whigs of the 1820s and 1830s, including Daniel Webster.[3] Historians agree that Justice Joseph Story reshaped American law—as much or more than Marshall or anyone else—in a conservative direction that protected property rights.[4]

He was uniquely honored in the historical Steven Spielberg film Amistad when he was portrayed by retired Associate Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court Harry Blackmun. Justice Blackmun portrays Justice Story reading the Supreme Court's decision in the case in which the film was based, and for which Justice Story is most widely remembered, United States v. The Amistad Africans, et al. This is the only time in known film history that an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court has portrayed another Associate Justice.

Joseph Story
Joseph Story
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
February 3, 1812[1] – September 10, 1845[1]
Nominated byJames Madison
Preceded byWilliam Cushing
Succeeded byLevi Woodbury
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd district
In office
May 23, 1808 – March 4, 1809
Preceded byJacob Crowninshield
Succeeded byBenjamin Pickman
Personal details
BornSeptember 18, 1779
Marblehead, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedSeptember 10, 1845 (aged 65)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
EducationHarvard University (BA)

Early life

Story was born at Marblehead, Massachusetts. His father was Dr. Elisha Story, a member of the Sons of Liberty who took part in the Boston Tea Party in 1773.[5] Dr. Story moved from Boston to Marblehead during the American Revolutionary War. His first wife, Ruth (née Ruddock) died and Story remarried in November 1778, to Mehitable Pedrick, nineteen, the daughter of a wealthy shipping merchant who lost his fortune during the war.[6] Joseph was the first-born of eleven children of the second marriage. (Story also fathered seven children from his first marriage.)[7]

As a boy, Joseph studied at the Marblehead Academy until the fall of 1794, where he was taught by schoolmaster William Harris, later president of Columbia University. At Marblehead he chastised a fellow schoolmate and Harris responded by beating him in front of the school; his father withdrew him immediately afterward.[8] Story was accepted at Harvard University in January 1795;[9] he joined Adelphi, a student-run literary review, and was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.[10] He graduated from Harvard in 1798, second in his class behind William Ellery Channing; he noted that his graduation was with "many bitter tears".[11] He read law in Marblehead under Samuel Sewall, then a congressman and later chief justice of Massachusetts. He later read law under Samuel Putnam in Salem.

He was admitted to the bar at Salem, Massachusetts in 1801. As the only lawyer in Essex County aligned with the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans, he was hired as counsel to the powerful Republican shipping firm of George Crowninshield & Sons. Story was also writing poetry and, in 1804, published "The Power of Solitude", one of the first long poems by an American. In 1805 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving until 1808, when he succeeded a Crowninshield son to represent Essex County in the Congress, serving from December 1808 to March 1809. There he led the effort to repeal the Embargo Act of 1807 by which Thomas Jefferson had stopped maritime commerce. Re-entering private practice in Salem, he was again elected to the state House of Representatives, where he was chosen Speaker in 1811.

Story's young wife, Mary F.L. Oliver, died in June 1805, shortly after their marriage and two months after the death of his beloved father. In August 1808, he married Sarah Waldo Wetmore, the daughter of Judge William Wetmore of Boston. They had seven children but only two, Mary and William Wetmore Story, would survive to adulthood. Their son became a noted poet and sculptor—his bust of his father was mounted in the Harvard Law School Library—who would later publish The Life and Letters of Joseph Story (2 vols., Boston and London, 1851). Volume I and Volume II

Story was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1810,[12] and a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[13] He would later serve as that society's vice-president from 1831 to 1845.[14]

Supreme Court justice

Joseph Story bust, US Supreme Court
Bust of Joseph Story, sculpted by his son William Wetmore Story, currently on display at the United States Supreme Court building.

In November 15, 1811, at the age of 32 years, 58 days, Story became—and, as of 2018 remains—the youngest person nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was chosen by President James Madison to succeed William Cushing, who had died 14 months earlier. Madison's previous nominee for the seat, John Quincy Adams, was confirmed by the United States Senate, but had declined to serve. The Senate confirmed Story's nomination and Madison signed his commission on November 18, 1811. Story swore his oath and assumed office on February 3, 1812.[1][15]

Story joined the Court at a critical time, as it was just beginning to assert its Constitutional authority over state courts and state legislation. Chief Justice John Marshall led this effort, but Story had a very large share in the remarkable decisions and opinions issued from 1812 until 1832. From Story's early days on the Court he became one of Justice Marshall's strongest allies. Of the opinions issued at this time, Story wrote more than any justice but Marshall. Story's early jurisprudence mimicked that of the chief justice. The most significant of his early opinions were clearly those of Fairfax Devisee v. Hunter's Lessee and the subsequent Martin v. Hunter's Lessee. In Fairfax, the Court was forced to consider the constitutionality of the Confiscation Act, passed by the state of Virginia to take land from citizens who had sympathized with the British during the Revolution. This legislation ran contrary to terms of Jay's Treaty, negotiated in 1794, which provided that property was to return to the Tories. The Court, headed by Story, unanimously agree that the law was forced to give way before the terms of Jay's Treaty. This remained consistent with the larger body of the Marshall Court's work in which Story and Marshall sought to establish a strong federal Union.

However, the work of establishing this Union was still in its infancy and as such Marshall and Story still encountered resistance. In this case, resistance came from the Virginia Court of Appeals, later called the Virginia Supreme Court, chaired by the influential Judge Spenser Roane. Roane and the Virginia Court refused to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court and instead claimed that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to issue a ruling binding upon Virginia's courts. The notion that the Supreme Court headed a national judiciary was still not widely accepted at this point. Questions such as the Supreme Court's jurisdiction still abounded in the early Republic. The resulting case, Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, addressed whether the Court had the power under the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the Constitution to hear a case on appeal from a state court. Story, once again speaking for the unanimous majority, ruled that the Court possessed the jurisdiction to rule on such issues. Ironically, just as Fletcher v. Peck was the case that first brought Story into contact with the Supreme Court, it was his opinion that would expand that prior holding.

Story's opinion in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee was profoundly significant before Story ever so much as addressed the issue explicitly. The manner in which Story framed the American republic is profoundly indicative of his philosophy. Story noted, "The Constitution of the United States was established, not by the states in their sovereignty capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble declares 'by the people of the United States."[16] Story expanded upon Marshall's earlier rhetoric to create a more expansive proclamation of national sovereignty. Story argued that the language of the Constitution made it clear that federal power and consequently the power of the Supreme Court was necessarily supreme and uniform.

Regarding the nominal issue of the case, whether the Supreme Court possessed appellate jurisdiction over the states, Story argued that the Court must possess such jurisdiction. Without national oversight over local courts the law could become discordant. This fear of discordant law was part of Story's belief in legal science, in this instance manifested as a belief in the uniformity of law. Without uniformity, each state would be allowed to develop its own idiosyncrasies, and such provincialism ran contrary to Story's aim of a national republic. Story citied the Constitution's assertion to be "The supreme law of the land" and that "Judges in every state shall be bound thereby".[17] To Story, the text of the Constitution, inherently supported the claim of national power. Martin v. Hunter's Lessee was profoundly significant. The case can be compared to both Marbury v. Madison and Fletcher v. Peck. Just as the former first asserted the claim of judicial review, Martin v. Hunter's Lessee asserted the Court's right to appellate jurisdiction over state courts. Much like Fletcher v. Peck, Martin expanded the Court's growing rhetoric of national supremacy. Preempting John C. Calhoun, Story saw state sovereignty as a threat to the stability of the American empire. To that end, asserting the sovereignty of the people of the United States, rather than that of the states, was integral to forming the national republic that Story desired.

Story's tenure on the Court was marked by two chief justices, John Marshall and Roger Taney. While Story was the staunchest ally and friend of the former, his relations with Taney were hardly so amicable. The transition started with the election of Andrew Jackson and the subsequent nominations of John McClean, Henry Baldwin, and James Wayne to the bench. This was further augmented with the replacement of the Chief Justice by Taney, another Jacksonian Democrat. Story was forced to come to grips with his new position in the Jacksonian court in, Proprietors of the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge. This 1837 case involved the grant from the Massachusetts legislature, of a 40-year charter of a bridge to a group of private citizens over the Charles river. This grant was made with the provision that after the investors collected tolls for 40 years, the bridge would fall into public hands. The success of the Charles River Bridge, coupled with the growth of the cities of Boston and Charlestown, led the Massachusetts legislature to prompt the creation of the Warren Bridge, in almost the exact location, but free of toll. The creation of a new free bridge, next to the previous one, was objectionable to the owners of the previous bridge, who launched a suit claiming the creation of a new bridge violated their rights.

The case came to symbolize a profound transformation in Story's tenure on the Court. Initially Marshall's most influential ally, Story enjoyed the success that came along with the nearly uniform agreement by the justices in Marshall's Court. Following the death of the chief justice and the arrival of the Age of Jackson, Story for the first time on the bench, seemed out of step with the rest of the Court. The Court ruled 4-2 in favor of the Warren Bridge, rejected the petitioner's claim that their charter granted them exclusive rights. Story, writing for the minority, noted "I stand upon the old law."[18] Story's dissent would develop rhetoric from earlier Marshall Court cases such as Dartmouth College v. Woodward to argue that the charter must be read expansively and as such granted exclusive rights which could not be violated without impairing the obligation of contracts, forbidden under the Contracts Clause of Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution. Story noted that perhaps the greatest irony of the case was that the Taney who wrote in favor of the Warren Bridge, claimed that granting exclusive rights to the Charles River Bridge Company would harm the community. To Story, the irony was the same legislature that granted said monopoly to the Charles River Bridge Company did so on the basis that a bridge would benefit the public. Story argued one ought not to second guess the motives of the legislature, only examine the charter which was to be understood expansively. Charles River Bridge illustrates the end of the Marshall Court's contract philosophy. In a clash that pitted the interests of entrenched capital and the needs of expanding communities, Story stood upon "the old law" and upheld the Marshall Court's belief in that contracts were sacred and must be regarded with deference in order to encourage investment. Oddly, both Taney and Story claimed that their views ought to prevail as it was required for economic growth and development. Taney stressed the wellbeing of the community as the primary impetus for economic growth, while Story stressed the security of contracts as a necessary condition for investment. Story's dissent also possessed elements of nationalism, in that he sought to secure capital by restraining state legislatures from amending contracts.

Oddly perhaps the most well known of Story's opinions is not among the most significant. Maybe the most remembered of Story's opinions is that of the Amistad Case, which made into a film by the same name, released in 1997 and directed by Steven Spielberg in which Story's role was played by retired Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun. Story's opinion, for which he spoke for the unanimous majority, ruled regarding the freedom of a group of African slaves found aboard a Spanish ship off the New England coast. Specifically, as the slave trade had been long pronounced illegal, if the Court were to find that these were free kidnapped Africans, their Spanish captors would be susceptible to prosecution. The Spaniards had claimed that under a 1795 treaty, the United States was obligated to return Spanish property, the ship and the slaves. However, Story noted that as the Africans were clearly obtained through fraud, i.e. kidnapping, as such the Spanish claims under the Treaty were fraudulent and should be disregarded. Perhaps the best illustration of the relative lack of significance of the opinion is reflected in the vote in which Story was joined by all justices but Baldwin. Despite the Southern dominance of the Court at this time, the justices sided with Story and the Africans. To the Court, the Amistad Case involved a clear violation of the prohibition of the slave trade. Unlike the rather thorny issues of slavery in the United States which the Court would attempt to decide later, this issue presented a clear problem and remedy.

One of Story's more vexing opinions was Prigg v. Pennsylvania, in which he wrote for the majority in 1842. Story was forced to consider the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania personal liberty law which placed procedural requirements on those seeking to extradite fugitive slaves. Story, despite his hatred of slavery, sided with the southern justices to declare the Pennsylvania law unconstitutional. This appears especially hard to square with Story's anti-slavery philosophy, as one of the individuals kidnapped by Edward Prigg, the slave catcher in question, was actually not a slave at all. However, despite the outcome as appearing entirely in favor of the South, a more accurate assessment can be gleaned from the text and time period. Concerning the former, Story argued that fugitive slaves were addressed in the Article 4 Section 2. Despite the fact that slavery was not mentioned, Story concluded that it was all too clear that the clause was meant to secure runaway slaves for southern slaveholders. He went on to note, "The full recognition of the right and title was indispensable to the security of this species of property in all the slaveholding States; and, indeed, was so vital to the preservation of their domestic interests and institutions, that it cannot be doubted that it constituted a fundamental article, without the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed."[19] Story's apparent endorsement of slaveholders' rights must be read through this light, that the justice felt that this was a bargain integral to the Constitution. Consequently, Story had an obligation to honor the deal struck at the Constitutional Convention. Further insight is provided by the political activity of southerners of the day. H. Robert Baker notes, "Story chose the path that he believed best supported a strong Union and rejected the natural right of slaveholders to the people they claimed as property. His resonating opinion answered southern constitutional claims in ways that protected slaveholders' rights, but not on the terms they wanted."[20] In a time when extremism regarding the slavery question continued to rise, Story bridged the gulf by protecting slaveholder's rights, but as a power exclusive to the national government. His opinion confirmed the rights of southern pro-slavery advocates, yet at the same time maintained that despite their aggressive claims, the Court would only validate slavery not expand its privileges. Though the resulting bargain would likely have pleased neither abolitionists nor slaveholders, it best symbolized the position of Story, who though he no longer enjoyed a Court aligned with his own views, still carved out a compromise that preserved a strong federal Union. A major impact of the opinion was that it opened the path for refusal of cooperation with Federal laws; it said that states cannot impede Federal agents from enforcing Federal laws, but at the same time, states were not required to enforce Federal laws themselves. This is known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Though still embroiled in his struggle with Roger Taney, Story achieved his last great victory in Swift v. Tyson. This 1842 case concerned a bill of exchange, essentially a promise of payment, given from a businessman in New York, in exchange for land in Maine. However, the individuals who received the bill of exchange, Jarius Keith and Nathaniel Norton, did not own the land in question. The central issue of the case focused on Article 34 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 which established that the Court was to employ state statutes as authoritative rules when they were applicable for the Court's cases. Story, ever the nationalist, had long despised using state statutes as authoritative when he deemed federal common law a much more preferably alternative. Simply put, Story longed to place more power in the hands of judges, in particular federal judges, instead of local legislatures. Though Story, writing for the unanimous majority, rejected the fraudulent Bill of Exchange, this remains less significant than his development of federal common law. As aforementioned, section 34 of the Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 held that courts were bound to local state statutes. Story, though had long desired to establish federal common law, had been unable to sway sufficient support to the cause. In Swift, he finally rallied sufficient support to chip away at the barrier. He noted, "This section (34 of the Judiciary Act), upon it sure intendment and construction, is strictly limited to local statutes and local usages of the character before started, and does not extend to contracts and other instruments of a commercial nature."[21] Story protected the bill of exchange, an important way to move capital at the time and further established commerce as a federal power. Story's option, though written late in his time on the Taney Court, is most comparable to those opinions of the earlier Marshall Court. Story's preference for federal common law prized federal authority over state authority and the decisions of judges over state legislatures. Story's opinion, like many of those in his time with Marshall, sought to build a strong Union. Integral to the creation of a more centralized state was federal regulation of commerce. Story viewed his own legal science as a more appropriate guiding for commercial regulation than state legislatures.

In 1829 he moved from Salem to Cambridge and became the first Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University, meeting with remarkable success as a teacher and winning the affection of his students, who had the benefit of learning from a sitting Supreme Court justice. He was a prolific writer, publishing many reviews and magazine articles, delivering orations on public occasions, and publishing books on legal subjects which won high praise on both sides of the Atlantic. Among Story's works of this period, one of the most important is the Justice's Commentaries on the Constitution. The commentaries are divided into three sections, the first two concerning the colonial origins of the confederation and revolution, and the final section concerns the origins of the Constitution. Story's Commentaries encapsulate and expound his ideology. Within his Commentaries Story, in particular, attacks notions of state sovereignty. Even at this moment when his time on the Court was drawing towards a close, Story remained concerned with the welfare of the Union. His guide to the Constitution stressed the sovereignty of the people rather than the states, and extensively attacked those elements, i.e. southern sovereignty advocates, that Story felt could destabilize the Union. Story's Commentaries summarize much of the Justice's philosophy and demonstrate how Story, sought to use his work off the bench to continue to foster popular sovereignty over state sovereignty.[22] Finally, Story's philosophy is made clear through the numerous references to Marshall, to whom the work is dedicated.


Justice Story remains one of the most significant figures in early American constitutional history. Of the many justices of the Marshall Court, only the chief justice himself wrote more opinions than Story. In the 33 years that Story sat on the Court, he would transition from being an ally of Marshall to the last of an old race. Joseph Story, throughout his time on the Marshall and Taney courts, championed the notion of legal science. He believed that the Union could be made stronger through the proper application of law, in particular proper application necessitated uniformity of application.[22] Consequently, federal control and judicial oversight were important tools in order to craft a more centralized Union. Story was in many respects a creature of New England; however, his chief aim was the creation of a strong Union. Consequently, several of his opinions, such as Prigg, emerge as efforts to protect the Union, despite some of the distasteful consequences. Justice Story's jurisprudence stressed the importance of nationalism through economic centralization and judicial review. While aspects of his jurisprudence would fall into the minority with the rise of Jackson, he continued to guide the Constitutional dialogue through cases like Prigg and Swift.[23]


Justice Story was one of the most successful American authors of the first half of the 19th century. "By the time he turned 65, on September 18, 1844, he earned $10,000 a year from his book royalties. At this point, his salary as Associate Justice was $4,500."[24]

Among his publications are:

He also edited several standard legal works. His Miscellaneous Writings, first published in 1835, appeared in an enlarged edition in 1851.

The Life and Letters of Joseph Story (1851) edited by his son William Wetmore Story was published in two volumes: Volume I and Volume II

Story contributed articles (in full, and or as part of larger articles) to The Encyclopedia Americana including this article Death, Punishment of. William Wetmore Story in The Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Volume 2, listed the articles Joseph Story wrote for The Encyclopedia Americana.":[25] Common Law, Congress of the United States, Conquest, Contracts, Corpus Delicti, Courts of England and the United States, Criminal Law,(Story's contribution begins at "To the preceding article. ... ") Death, Punishment of, Domicil, Equity, Evidence, Jury, Lien, Law, Legislation, and Codes, (Story's contribution begins on p. 581.) Natural Law, Nations, Law of, Prize, and Usury. Story is sometimes identified as an "eminent American jurist" by the editors when he is a joint author of an article. See the Law, Legislation, and Codes article for an example.


The Amistad. Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of the United States 40 U.S. 518; 10 L. Ed. 826

Gallison's Reports. Reports of Cases in the Circuit Court of the United States for the First Circuit 2d ed. With additional Notes and References. By John Gallison. 2 vols. Boston, 1845. Vol 1 Vol 2

Mason's Reports. Reports of Cases in the Circuit Court of the United States for the First Circuit, from 1816 to 1830. By William P. Mason. 5 vols. Boston, 1819–31. Vol 5

Sumner's Reports. Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Circuit Court of the United States for the First Circuit. By Charles Sumner. 3 vols. Boston, 1836–40.

Story's Reports. Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Circuit Court of the United States for the First Circuit. By W. W. Story. 3 vols. Boston, 1842–47 Vol 3

"These volumes contain all the decisions of Mr. Justice Story on his Circuit. The decisions relate particularly to questions of Equity and Admiralty, and are of great practical value."[26]

Death and legacy

Justice Story spoke at the dedication ceremony for Mount Auburn Cemetery in 1831, which set the model for dozens of subsequent addresses over the next few decades. It also helped spark the "rural cemetery" movement and to link that movement to the development of the republic. Story emphasized the ways that rural cemeteries contributed to an ordered and well-regulated republic of law.[27] Upon his death in 1845, he was buried there "as are scores of America's celebrated political, literary, religious, and military leaders. His grave is marked by a piece of sepulchral statuary executed by his son, William Wetmore Story."[28]

Story County, Iowa was named in his honor, as was Story Hall, a dormitory at Harvard Law School, and the DePaul University College of Law chapter of the legal fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta and Story Grammar School, the town of Marblehead's first modern graded school.

Quotations by Story

On the Supreme Court's authority over state courts in civil matters of federal law (Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816)):

The Constitution unavoidably deals in general language. It did not suit the purposes of the people, in framing this great charter of our liberties, to provide for minute specifications of its powers, or to declare the means by which those powers should be carried into execution. It was foreseen that this would be a perilous and difficult, if not an impracticable, task. The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies of a few years, but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence.

On patent law (Title 35 of the United States Code), specifically regarding the patentability of inventions and the granting of patents (Lowell v. Lewis, 1 Mason. 182; 1 Robb, Pat. Cas. 131 Circuit Court, D. Massachusetts. May Term. 1817.):

Daguerreotype of Joseph Story, 1844 (edit)
Joseph Story towards the end of his life.

The patent act uses the phrase 'useful invention' merely incidentally. ... All that the law requires is, that the invention should not be frivolous or injurious to the well-being, good policy, or sound morals of society. The word 'useful,' therefore, is incorporated into the act in contradistinction to mischievous or immoral. For instance, a new invention to poison people, or to promote debauchery, or to facilitate private assassination, is not a patentable invention. But if the invention steers wide of these objections, whether it be more or less useful is a circumstance very material to the interests of the patentee, but of no importance to the public. If it be not so extensively useful, it will silently sink into contempt and disregard.[29]

On the subject of church and state:

... Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution declares, that 'no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.' This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any religious test, or affirmation. It had a higher objective: to cut off for ever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government.[30]

The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chapter, as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance, as any, which should be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.[31]

Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state government, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.[32]

On the Second Amendment:

The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace both from the enormous expenses with which they are attended and the facile means which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers to subvert the government or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers and will generally even if these are successful the first instance enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet though this truth would seem so clear and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable it cannot be disguised that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline and a disposition from a sense of its burthens to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger that indifference may lead to disgust and disgust to contempt and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "Justices 1789 to Present". Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  2. ^ David Brion Davis, Antebellum American culture (1997), pp. 14-15
  3. ^ Newmyer, p. 4
  4. ^ Presser, p. 526
  5. ^ Dunne, p. 32
  6. ^ Newmyer, pp. 7-8
  7. ^ Friedman, p. 254
  8. ^ Newmyer, p. 21
  9. ^ Dunne, p. 23
  10. ^ Newmyer, p. 27
  11. ^ Dunne, p. 26
  12. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter S" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  13. ^ "Member List S". American Antiquarian Society. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Dunbar, B. (1987). Members and Officers of the American Antiquarian Society. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society.
  15. ^ McMillion, Barry J.; Rutkus, Denis Steven (July 6, 2018). "Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2017: Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  16. ^ Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816) 325.
  17. ^ Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816) 341.
  18. ^ Proprietors of the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge, 36 U.S. 402 (1837) 598.
  19. ^ Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. 539 (1842) 35.
  20. ^ H. Robert Baker, "A Better Story in Prigg v. Pennsylvania?," Journal of Supreme Court History Vol. 39 (2014) 186.
  21. ^ Swift v. Tyson, 41 U.S. 1 (1842) 2.
  22. ^ a b R. Kent Newmeyer, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story: Statesman of the Old Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985)
  23. ^ Melvin Urofsky, The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary (New York: Garland Publishing, 1994)
  24. ^ Rotunda & Nowak "Introduction" to Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. xxiv, Reprint Edition, Carolina Academic Press, 1987.
  25. ^ Story, Life and Letters, Vol 2 pp. 27-28, Boston, 1851.
  26. ^ Story, Life and Letters, Vol. 2 p. 665, Boston, 1851.
  27. ^ Alfred L. Brophy, "These Great and Beautiful Republics of the Dead": Public Constitutionalism and the Antebellum Cemetery
  28. ^ Christensen, George A., Here Lies the Supreme Court: Revisited, Journal of Supreme Court History, Volume 33 Issue 1, Pages 17 - 41 (Feb 19, 2008), University of Alabama.
  29. ^ Lowell v. Lewis, 15 F. Cas. 1019, 1817 U.S. App. LEXIS 169 (C.C.D. Mass. 1817).
  30. ^ Story, Joseph (1833) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company. Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co. Volume III, p. 705, §1841.
  31. ^ Story, Joseph (1833) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company. Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co. Volume III, page 728, §1871.
  32. ^ Story, Joseph (1858) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company. Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co. Third Edition, Volume II, p. 667, §1879.
  33. ^ Story, Joseph (1833) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company. Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co. Volume III, page 746–747, §1890.


  • Joseph Story at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  • Dunne, Gerald T. (1970). Justice Joseph Story and the Rise of the Supreme Court. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671206656.
  • Friedman, Leon; Israel, Fred L., eds. (1995). The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 0-7910-1377-4.
  • Newmyer, R. Kent (1985). Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story: Statesman of the Old Republic. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807841641.
  • Presser, Stephen B. (1985). "Review: Resurrecting the Conservative Tradition in American Legal History". Reviews in American History. 13 (4): 526–533. JSTOR 2702583.
  • Stanley Kutler, Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case (Philadelphia: Lippincott Company, 1990)
  • United States v. Libellants and Claimants of the Schooner Amistad, 40 U.S. 518 (1841).
  • Kermit L. Hall and Timothy S. Huebner, Major Problems in American Constitutional History (Boston: Wadsworth Learning Center, 2010)
  • H. Robert Baker, "A Better Story in Prigg v. Pennsylvania?," Journal of Supreme Court History Vol. 39 (2014)
  • R. Kent Newmeyer, The Supreme Court under Marshall and Taney (Wheelling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson Company, 2006)

Further reading

  • Story, William (2001). Life and Letters of Joseph Story. New Jersey: The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1584770716.
  • Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506557-3.
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Story, Joseph" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Cushman, Clare (2001). The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–1995 (2nd ed.). (Supreme Court Historical Society, Congressional Quarterly Books). ISBN 1-56802-126-7.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. (1992). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505835-6.
  • Martin, Fenton S.; Goehlert, Robert U. (1990). The U.S. Supreme Court: A Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Books. ISBN 0-87187-554-3.
  • McClellan, James (1971). Joseph Story and the American Constitution; a Study in Political and Legal Thought, with Selected Writings. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0806122900.
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. (1994). The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland Publishing. p. 590. ISBN 0-8153-1176-1.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jacob Crowninshield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin Pickman
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Cushing
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Succeeded by
Levi Woodbury
Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States

Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States is a three-volume work written by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Joseph Story and published in 1833. In these Commentaries, Story defends the power of the national government and economic liberty. "My object will be," Story wrote, "sufficiently attained, if I shall have succeeded in bringing before the reader the true view of its powers, maintained by its founders and friends, and confirmed and illustrated by the actual practice of the government."

Crimes Act of 1825

The Crimes Act of 1825 (also known as the Federal Criminal Code of 1825), formally titled An Act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes, was the first piece of omnibus federal criminal legislation since the Crimes Act of 1790. In general, the 1825 act provided more punishment than the 1790 act. The maximum authorized sentence of imprisonment was increased from 7 to 10 years; the maximum fine from $5,000 to $10,000. But, the punishments of stripes and pillory were not provided for.Drafted by Justice Joseph Story, and sponsored by Representative Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, the statute defined a series of new federal crimes applicable in areas under exclusive federal jurisdiction—the District of Columbia, federal territories, and federal enclaves—as well as felonies on the high seas and under federal admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

Dean of Ferns

The Dean of Ferns is based at The Cathedral Church of St Edan, Ferns in the united Diocese of Cashel and Ossory within the Church of Ireland.

The current incumbent is Paul Mooney.

Jacob Crowninshield

Jacob Crowninshield (March 31, 1770 – April 15, 1808) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and appointee to the position of U.S. Secretary of the Navy, which he never filled. His brother Benjamin Williams Crowninshield did successfully hold the post; the Crowninshield family in general was prominent in early American maritime affairs. His ancestor, Johann Casper Richter von Kronenscheldt, immigrated from Leipzig. He was the grandfather of Arent S. Crowninshield.

Joseph's Tomb

Joseph's Tomb (Hebrew: קבר יוסף‎, Qever Yosef, Arabic: قبر يوسف‎, Qabr Yūsuf) is a funerary monument located at the eastern entrance to the valley that separates Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, 300 metres northwest of Jacob's Well. It lies on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, near Tell Balata, the site of Shakmu in the Late Bronze Age and later biblical Shechem. One biblical tradition identifies the general area of Shechem as the resting-place of the biblical patriarch Joseph and his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Multiple locations over the years have been viewed as the legendary burial place of Joseph.Joseph's tomb has been venerated throughout the ages by Samaritans, for whom it is the second holiest site, by Jews, by Christians, and by Muslims, some of whom view it as the location of a local medieval sheik Yusef Al-Dwaik. Post-biblical records regarding the location of Joseph's Tomb somewhere around this area date from the beginning of the 4th-century AD. The present structure, a small rectangular room with a cenotaph, dates from 1868, and is devoid of any trace of ancient building materials. While some scholars, such as Kenneth Kitchen and James K. Hoffmeier affirm the essential historicity of the biblical account of Joseph, others, such as Donald B. Redford, argue that the story itself has "no basis in fact".There is no archaeological evidence establishing the tomb as Joseph's, and modern scholarship has yet to determine whether or not the present cenotaph is to be identified with the ancient biblical gravesite. The lack of Jewish or Christian sources prior to the 5th century that mention the tomb indicates that prior to the 4th century it was a Samaritan site. Samaritan sources tell of struggles between Samaritans and Christians who wished to remove Joseph's bones.At key points in its long history, a site thought to be Joseph's Tomb in this area witnessed intense sectarian conflict. Samaritans and Christians disputing access and title to the site in the early Byzantine period often engaged in violent clashes. After Israel captured the West Bank in 1967, Muslims were prohibited from worship at the shrine and it was gradually turned into a Jewish prayer room. Interreligious friction and conflict from competing Jewish and Muslim claims over the tomb became frequent. Though it fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) following the signing of the Oslo Accords, it remained under IDF guard with Muslims prohibited from praying there. At the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, just after being handed over to the PNA, it was looted and razed by rioting Palestinian. Following the reoccupation of Nablus during Israel's Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, Jewish groups returned there intermittently. Between 2009 and 2010 the structure was refurbished, with a new cupola installed, and visits by Jewish worshippers have resumed.

Joseph (Genesis)

Joseph (; Hebrew: יוֹסֵף meaning "Increase", Standard Yosef Tiberian Yôsēp̄; Arabic: يوسف‎ Yūsuf or Yūsif; Ancient Greek: Ἰωσήφ Iōsēph) is an important figure in the Bible's Book of Genesis.

In the biblical narrative, Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt. Pharaoh gave him the name "Zaphnath-Paaneah" (Hebrew צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ Ṣāfnaṯ Paʿnēaḫ, LXX Ψονθομφανήχ (p)sontʰ-(ŏm)pʰanêkʰ; Genesis 41:45). The composition of the story can be dated to the period between the 7th century BCE and the third quarter of the 5th century BCE, which is roughly the period to which scholars date the Book of Genesis.In rabbinic tradition, Joseph is considered the ancestor of another Messiah called, "Mashiach ben Yosef", according to which he will wage war against the evil forces alongside Mashiach ben David and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel.

Joseph Story (bishop)

Joseph Story DD was an 18th-century Anglican bishop in Ireland.Story was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was appointed Chaplain to the Irish House of Commons in 1731 and Dean of Ferns in 1734. He was appointed to the episcopate at Bishop of Killaloe in 1740 and translated to Kilmore in 1742. He died on 22 September 1757.

Joseph Story (priest)

Joseph Story was an 18th-century Anglican priest in Ireland.The son of another Joseph Story Bishop of Kilmore from 1742 to 1757 He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Story was ordained deacon on 28 August, 1743 and priest on 4 September that year.

He was appointed

Archdeacon of Kilmore in 1745Vicar general of the Diocese of Kilmore in 1746

Vicar of Killersherdiny in 1754

and in 1560 Prebend of Whitechrch in Ferns CathedralHe died on 17 December 1767.

Joseph Story House

The Joseph Story House is a historic house on 26 Winter Street, facing the Salem Common in Salem, Massachusetts. Built in 1811, this house was home from then until his death of United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story (1779–1845), a leading jurist of the time, and an influential figure in the early years of Harvard Law School. A well-preserved example of Federal architecture executed in brick, it is a National Historic Landmark.

Knights of the South Bronx

Knights of the South Bronx is a 2005 television film about a teacher who helps students at a tough inner-city school to succeed by teaching them to play chess. It was directed by Allen Hughes and written by Jamal Joseph (story and teleplay) and Dianne Houston (teleplay).

List of Wander Over Yonder episodes

Wander Over Yonder is an animated comedic science fiction television series created by Craig McCracken. The series ran from August 16, 2013 to June 27, 2016. New episodes premiered on Disney Channel before being moved to Disney XD starting with the fifteenth episode. A total of 79 episodes were produced over two seasons; an additional eleven shorts bridge the first and the second season.

Wander Over Yonder follows the eponymous character, Wander, and his best friend and steed Sylvia. An optimistic and adventurous traveler of the galaxies, Wander aims to help inhabitants of other planets live freely, against the intentions of Lord Hater to rule the universe. Each episode consists of two segments, each roughly eleven minutes in length.During the course of the series, 43 episodes (79 segments) of Wander Over Yonder aired over two seasons.

List of federal judges appointed by James Madison

Following is a list of all Article III United States federal judges appointed by President James Madison during his presidency. In total Madison appointed 13 Article III federal judges, including 2 Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States, 2 judges to the United States circuit courts, and 9 judges to the United States district courts. One of Madison's district court appointments was in fact appointed twice, to succeed himself on the same court, having resigned from the first appointment to pursue another political office.

Marshall Court

The Marshall Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1801 to 1835, when John Marshall served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall served as Chief Justice until his death, at which point Roger Taney took office. The Marshall Court played a major role in increasing the power of the judicial branch, as well as the power of the national government.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Salem, Massachusetts

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Salem, Massachusetts.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Salem, Massachusetts, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in an online map.Essex County, of which Salem is a part, is the location of more than 450 properties and districts listed on the National Register, including 25 National Historic Landmarks. Salem itself is the location of 46 of these properties and districts, including 8 National Historic Landmarks.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 14, 2019.

Salem Register

The Salem Register (1800-ca.1911) was a newspaper published in Salem, Massachusetts, in the 19th century. William Carlton established it in 1800; subsequent publishers included his wife Elizabeth Carlton, John Chapman, Charles W. Palfray, Warick Palfray Jr., Haven Poole, Eben N. Walton. Among the contributing writers: William Bentley, Andrew Dunlap, Joseph E. Sprague, Joseph Story. Its office was at no.185 Essex Street.In the 1800s the Register "began its career as an advocate for the election of Mr. Jefferson to the Presidency. With all the ability of its editor and his friends -- among whom were the Rev. William Bentley and some of the wealthiest families in Salem -- it opposed the doctrines and the measures of the federal party. The political warfare between the Register and the Salem Gazette was carried on with great vigor and bitterness."From 1807 to 1840 the paper was called the Essex Register, then again called the Salem Register. "The reason for altering the title from Essex to Salem was that letters and packages directed to their office were carried to the town of Essex and thus caused considerable inconvenience." In the 1820s-1830s, "prior to the amalgamation of distinct parties in politics under the names of Whig and Democrat the Register sustained those who called themselves Republicans."

Story County, Iowa

Story County is a county in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 89,542. The county seat is Nevada.Story County comprises the Ames, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines, IA Combined Statistical Area.The county is home to Iowa State University in Ames.

Story Grammar School

The Story Grammar School is a historic school building at 140 Elm Street in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Built in 1880, it was the town's first modern graded school, and is a prominent local example of Colonial Revival architecture. It was named for a native son, United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, and served as a public school until 1978. It is now in residential use. it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Tamar (Genesis)

In the Book of Genesis, Tamar (; Hebrew: תָּמָר, Modern: Tamar, Tiberian: Tāmār, date palm, pronounced [ˈtamar]) was the daughter-in-law of Judah (twice), as well as the mother of two of his children: the twins Perez and Zerah.

Treason Act 1351

The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of the Parliament of England which codified and curtailed the common law offence of treason. No new offences were created by the statute. It is one of the earliest English statutes still in force, although it has been very significantly amended. It was extended to Ireland in 1495 and to Scotland in 1708. The Act was passed at Westminster in the Hilary term of 1351, in the 25th year of the reign of Edward III and was entitled "A Declaration which Offences shall be adjudged Treason". It was passed to clarify precisely what was treason, as the definition under common law had been expanded rapidly by the courts until its scope was controversially wide. The Act was last used to prosecute William Joyce in 1945 for collaborating with Germany in World War II.

The Act is still in force in the United Kingdom. It is also still in force in some former British colonies, including New South Wales. Like other laws of the time, it was written in Norman French.

The Act is the origin of the definition of treason in the United States (in Article III of the Constitution). Joseph Story wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States that:

they have adopted the very words of the Statute of Treason of Edward the Third; and thus by implication, in order to cut off at once all chances of arbitrary constructions, they have recognized the well-settled interpretation of these phrases in the administration of criminal law, which has prevailed for ages.

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Marshall Court (1801–1835)
Supreme Court of the United States
The Marshall Court
Chief Justice: John Marshall (1801–1835)
The Taney Court
Chief Justice: Roger Brooke Taney (1836–1864)

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