Writings of Levi Woodbury, LL.D. Political, Judicial, and Literary; Now First Selected and Arranged

Price: 2,500.00 USD

Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1852. 3-Volume set. Uniform brown cloth binding, in clear plastic, in slipcase. Volume I, Political, Frontis, [4], 640 pages, Tables, Notes, Index [some pages uncut]; Volume II, Judicial, 436 pages, Index [many pages uncut]; and Volume III, Literary, 449. [1] pages. Tables. [some pages uncut]. Cut signature of author pasted to top of Vol. I title page. Four page list of Books from publisher bound in at front of first volume. Levi Woodbury (December 22, 1789 - September 4, 1851) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a U.S. Senator, the 9th Governor of New Hampshire, and cabinet member in three administrations. Woodbury was appointed to the New Hampshire Senate in 1816 and the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1817. In 1823, he won election as the Governor of New Hampshire, serving until 1824. The following year, he was elected to the United States Senate, holding office 1831. He was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Jackson and was the Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson and Martin Van Buren. He served another term representing New Hampshire in the Senate from 1841 to 1845, when he accepted President James K. Polk's appointment to the Supreme Court. He was the first Justice to have attended law school. Woodbury served until his death in 1851. These three volumes collect most of the political, judicial and literary writings of Levi Woodbury [1789-1851], an important New Hampshire jurist and statesman. Appointed by President Polk to fill the vacancy created by the death of Joseph Story, he was an associate justice in the Taney Court from 1846 to his death in 1851. He usually sided with the majority during his tenure, but his strong sympathy for states' rights provoked occasional dissents. He usually supported the majority's decisions on the contract clause. He was admired for his acute legal mind and sound reasoning. An examination of his writings gives us an opportunity to reevaluate the assessment of his peers and enrich our understanding of the Taney Court. Woodbury is one of the few individuals to serve in all three branches of U.S. government and one of three people to have served in all three branches and also have served as a U.S. Governor (the others being Salmon P. Chase and James F. Byrnes). Although he was well known in the mid-19th century, Woodbury's reputation declined posthumously. His decline is generally accredited to two factors: his writing style and positivist jurisprudence, which allowed for the misconception that he was pro-slavery. He was known for his intelligence, but his lengthy opinions made it difficult for historians to see the impact of his work. Woodbury was influential in developing the "Cooley Doctrine" in interpreting the Commerce Clause and shaping the court's precedent on slavery. By putting his personal views aside, he reinforced the idea that the constitution explicitly allowed slavery and even supported it, which helped lead to the Dred Scott decision and sectional tensions. Presumed First Edition, First printing. Good.


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