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A “Triumph of Freedom” After All? Prigg v. Pennsylvania Re-examined


Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), has puzzled scholars for generations. Law professor David Currie has called it “perplexing.” It is a case over which scholars have come to a wide array of conflicting conclusions.

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William Wiecek , “Slavery and Abolition before the U.S. Supreme Court 1820–1860,” Journal of American History 65 (1978): 3459

Paul Finkelman , “Prigg v. Pennsylvania and Northern State Courts: Anti-Slavery Use of a Pro-Slavery Decision,” Civil War History 25(1979): 535

Paul Finkelman , “Story Telling on the Supreme Court: Prigg v. Pennsylvania and Justice Joseph Story's Judicial Nationalism,” The Supreme Court Review, 1994: 247–94

Christopher L.M. Eisgruber , “Justice Story, Slavery, and the Natural Law Foundations of American Constitutionalism,” University of Chicago Law Review 55 (1988): 273327

Daniel Roper , “In Quest of Judicial Objectivity: The Marshall Court and the Legitimation of Slavery,” Stanford Law Review 21 (1969): 532–39

Edwin A. Miles , “After John Marshall's Decision: Worcester v. Georgia and the Nullification Crisis,” The Journal of Southern History 39 (1973):519–44

Linda Kerber , “The Abolitionist Perception of the Indian,” Journal of American History 62 (1975): 271–95

Alysse Portnoy , Their Right to Speak: Women's Activism in the Indian and Slave Debates (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005)

Mary Hershberger , “Review of Portnoy, Their Right to Speak,” Journal of American History 93 (2006): 528–29

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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