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Johnson v. McIntosh

Significance, The Discovery Doctrine, Impact


Johnson, Graham


William McIntosh

Appellants' Claim

That title to land purchased by private individuals directly from Indian tribes is entitled to recognition by the United States.

Chief Lawyers for Appellants

Harper, Webster

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Winder, Murray

Justices for the Court

Gabriel Duvall, William Johnson, John Marshall (writing for the Court), Joseph Story, Smith Thompson, Thomas Todd, Bushrod Washington

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

February term, 1823


The Court upheld McIntosh's claim and affirmed the lower court's decision denying U.S. recognition of land title purchased from Indian tribes by individuals.

Related Cases

  • Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. 1 (1831).
  • Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832).
  • Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States, 348 U.S. 272 (1955).
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, 528 F.2nd 370 (1975).
  • County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation, 430 U.S. 226 (1985).

Further Readings

  • National Congress of American Indians. http://www.ncai.org.
  • Wilkinson, Charles F. American Indians, Time, and the Law. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.
  • Wunder, John R., ed. Native American Law and Colonialism, Before 1776 to 1903. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996.

Additional topics

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