November 22, 2011
22 November 2011
Dartmouth vs. Woodward
The Supreme Court case of Dartmouth versus Woodward in 1819, is a significant case that continues to have an impact on current court cases. This case helped define what a charter is and the “contract clause” of the U.S. constitution. The case of Dartmouth college versus Woodward had an effect on private and public colleges. It set the standard for contract clauses and limited the state of New Hampshire power in regards to private schools.
Reverend Eleaszer Wheelock first started Dartmouth college as a school for missionaries and Native Americans. Reverend Wheelock contributed his own money and also received funding from England and Scotland. He then set up an English board to help with the finances towards the school. The Royal Governor of New Hampshire granted a charter to Wheelock in 1769, which stated how the school was going to be ran. In order to maintain the charter, King George of England granted Dartmouth a written grant to establish a university in New Hampshire. In 1769, King George III established Dartmouth College. Thirty years later in 1815, after the United States was formed, the state of New Hampshire attempted to change the status of the school from private to public. The state of New Hampshire then passed laws that revised the charter. Therefore, they thought they were able to change the university from private to public. New Hampshire also selected new trustees for the state. The previous trustees and friends of Dartmouth did not approve of this new law and therefore filled a lawsuit. They hired Daniel Webster, who at the time, was known as the most famous alumni of the school. Webster defended Dartmouth in court against William Woodward; which is how this court case originated its name. Webster argued that when the school was founded certain rights...