Case Summary: Dartmouth College vs. Woodward

Pages: 4 (1244 words) Published: June 20, 2013
John Marshall believed the United States needed a strong national government. In your essay describe three specific events in John Marshall's life and explain why those episodes convinced him that the United States needed a strong national government. In the second part of your essay describe the significant issues of three specific decisions by the Marshall Court and then explain how each case strengthened the national government?

Court Cases:
 Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
by forbidding the state legislature to alter the college charter, established the principle that charters were contracts which could not be impaired. Barron V Baltimore: Facts of the Case 
In 1816, the New Hampshire legislature attempted to change Dartmouth College-- a privately funded institution--into a state university. The legislature changed the school's corporate charter by transferring the control of trustee appointments to the governor. In an attempt to regain authority over the resources of Dartmouth College, the old trustees filed suit against William H. Woodward, who sided with the new appointees. Question 

Did the New Hampshire legislature unconstitutionally interfere with Dartmouth College's rights under the Contract Clause? Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Dartmouth College, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: US Const. Art 1, Section 10
In a 6-to-1 decision, the Court held that the College's corporate charter qualified as a contract between private parties, with which the legislature could not interfere. The fact that the government had commissioned the charter did not transform the school into a civil institution. Chief Justice Marshall's opinion emphasized that the term "contract" referred to transactions involving individual property rights, not to "the political relations between the government and its citizens."

The Supreme Court decided that the Bill of Rights, specifically the Fifth Amendment's guarantee that government takings of private property...
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