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United States v. Cruikshank

Significance, Southern Racism Makes A Comeback, The Supreme Court Delivers A Crushing Blow, Hate Crimes


United States


William J. Cruikshank, et al.

Plaintiff's Claim

That the defendants should be convicted of violations of 16 federal laws, including involvement in the lynching of two black men and the violation of the victims' "right and privilege peaceably to assemble together."

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

Edwards Pierrepont, Attorney General; Samuel F. Phillips, Solicitor General

Chief Defense Lawyers

David Dudley Field, Reverdy Johnson, R. H. Marr, Philip Phillips

Justices for the Court

Joseph P. Bradley, Nathan Clifford, David Davis, Stephen J. Field, Ward Hunt, Samuel F. Miller, William Strong, Noah H. Swayne, Morrison R. Waite (writing for the court)

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

March 27, 1876


Guilty verdicts were overturned.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214 (1876).
  • DeJonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353 (1937).
  • Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496 (1939).


Jacobs, James B., and Kimberly Potter. Hate Crimes : Criminal Law & Identity Politics. New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882