less than 1 minute read

Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward

Significance, Further Readings


Dartmouth College


State of New Hampshire

Appellant's Claim

That the action of the state of New Hampshire reconstituting the charter of Dartmouth College as Dartmouth University and appointing a new board of trustees was a violation of the constitutional protection against actions impairing contracts.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Daniel Webster

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Joseph Hopkinson for old trustees; John Holmes and William Wirt, for State of New Hampshire

Justices for the Court

William Johnson, Henry Brockholst Livingston, John Marshall (writing for the Court), Joseph Story, Bushrod Washington

Justices Dissenting

Gabriel Duvall (Thomas Todd did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 March 1818


That the state could not alter the charter of a private educational institution as it was a contract.

Related Cases

  • Allen v. McKean, 1 F.Cas. 489 (C.C.D.Me 1833).
  • Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 36 U.S. 420 (1837).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832