Found in Yonkers Logo

Article-of-the Day #74: Constitution Center-March 1, 1842 Justice Joseph Story Wrote the First Major Opinion Regarding the Power of the Federal Government Over Slavery in Prigg v. Pennsylvania

On March 1, 1842, Justice Joseph Story wrote the first major opinion regarding the power of the federal government over slavery. Prigg v. Pennsylvania had far-reaching consequences, in the passing of new “personal liberty” laws by Northern states and the subsequent stronger federal Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. It also provided the basis for the Reconstruction Congress’s Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment.