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Slavery and Abolition

Laws

Proquest Congressional  (1789+)

Indexes publications of the U.S. Congress such as hearings, committee reports, documents and prints. Material is available in microfiche and/or electronic. Essential tool for doing legislative history research. Includes Congressional Research Reports from 1916 to the present, U.S. Serial Set from 1789-1969, Annals of Congress from 1789-1824, Register of Debates from 1824-1837, Congressional Globe from 1833-1873, and Congressional Record from 1873-1997.

Proquest Congressional Serial Set  (1789-present)

Collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress. Includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

Making of Modern Law Digital Archive (Legal Treatises 1800-1926)  

Digital library of works from the 19th and early 20th centuries on British Commonwealth and American law. Includes treatises, casebooks, local practice manuals, books on legal form, works for lay readers, pamphlets, letters, and speeches.

Making of Modern Law Digital Archive (U. S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978)    

A fully searchable digital archive containing 150 years of U.S. SupremeCourt records and briefs. The record for a case may contain the following types of documents: motions, petitions, oral transcripts, transcripts of the trial record, applications for writ, appendices, letter briefs and jurisdictional statements.

Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources, 1620-1970    

Contains digitized and searchable copies of over 300 years of legal primary sources, such as early U.S. state codes, city charters, constitutional conventions and compilations, and other documents.

Making of the Modern World Digital Archive  (1450-1850)  

Digital edition of the Goldsmiths'-Kress collections of books on that document economic and business activity in the West, from the last half of the 15th century to the mid-19th century. Materials include books, pamphlets and ephemera and cover a broad range of topics in political science, history, sociology, and banking, finance, transportation and manufacturing.

Slavery and the Law

The Slavery and the Law collection provides invaluable insight to scholars, students, and general readers of the humanities into testimony on a broad range of subjects by a variety of southerners—black and white, slave and free, slaveholder and non-slaveholder, man and woman.

State Slavery Statutes

"This master record of the laws governing American slavery, covering the years 1789 to 1865, assembles ... the texts of more than 7,000 slavery-related statutes and constitutional articles and amendments from the 11 slaveholding states that formed the Confederate States of America, plus four border states. Materials in the collection cover virtually every aspect of the regulation of blacks of the period."  (Also available in Microform Services: Microfiche 1887, Printed guide: (FilmB) KF4545.S5 A127 1989, 354 microfiche)

U. S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 (Making of Modern Law Digital Archive)  

A fully searchable digital archive containing 150 years of U.S. SupremeCourt records and briefs. The record for a case may contain the following types of documents: motions, petitions, oral transcripts, transcripts of the trial record, applications for writ, appendices, letter briefs and jurisdictional statements.

Westlaw Campus  

Note: Restricted to academic research by Princeton University faculty and students. If Westlaw Campus asks for a password, please click the refresh button on your browser. This should allow access to the database without putting in a password.

Comprehensive database of legal materials, including cases, statutes, and regulations of the U.S. government and the various state governments; includes the legal encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2nd and American Law Reports; case law from 1789 to present; current statutes and regulations. Documents can also be accessed through broad subject categories such as Civil Rights, International Law and Environmental Law.

Case law

Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall

Library of Congress.  American Memory Historical Collections for the National Digital Library.  Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860. 
Drawn from the resources of the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, users may access first-hand accounts of trials and cases, reports, arguments, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, and other primary historical materials.  Although limited to 105 items, some of the more noteworthy works include the Case of Dred Scott in the United States Supreme Court, the Trial of John Brown, and the Argument of John Quincy Adams, before the Supreme Court of the United States, which is also known as the Amistad Case.

O Say Can You See

"This project explores multigenerational black, white, and mixed family networks in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing thousands of case files from the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Maryland state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. We include petitions for freedom, civil, criminal, and chancery cases. And we incorporate where possible related documents about these families from special collections, archives, churches, and local historical societies. Scholars from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Maryland will collaborate by uncovering the web of litigants, jurists, legal actors, and participants in this community, and by placing these family networks in the foreground of our interpretive framework of slavery and national formation."

St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project.  Freedom Suits in Missouri. 
Between 1814 and 1860, nearly 300 enslaved persons in St. Louis sued their owners for wrongful servitude in Missouri courts.  The most famous case was the 1846 petition filed by Dred Scott and his wife Harriet.  Collectively these cases became known as the St. Louis Circuit Court Freedom Suits which are part of the larger St. Louis Circuit Court Case File Records Series.  So far, these cases represent the largest collection of freedom suits filed by enslaved persons in nineteenth-century America.

Yale University.  The Avalon Project: Documents on Slavery. 
The Avalon Project at the Yale University Law School brings together digitized primary documents, treaties, speeches, and biographical texts relevant to the fields of history, economics, politics, law, diplomacy and government. The documents on slavery include literary works, federal and state statutes, and treaties and agreements concerning the slave trade.  Coverage spans pre-eighteenth century to the twenty-first century.

Internet resources

Digital Library on American Slavery  “The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 individual slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners.”

The Geography of Slavery in Virginia  “The Geography of Slavery project presents full transcriptions and images of all runaway and captured ads for slaves and servants placed in Virginia newspapers from 1736 to 1790, and is in the process of compiling advertisements well into the nineteenth century. In addition, the project offers a number of other documents related to slaves, servants, and slaveholders, including court records, other newspaper notices, slaveholder correspondence, and assorted literature about slavery and indentured servitude.”

“I Will Be Heard!”  Abolitionism in America  “Featuring rare books, manuscripts, letters, photographs, and other materials from Cornell University’s pre-eminent anti-slavery and Civil War collections.”

Microfilm

Printed guide to accompany microfilm set is housed in Microform Services on A-floor in Firestone Library.


State Slavery Statutes

ReCap Microfiche 1887 Printed guide: (FilmB) KF4545.S5 A127 1989          354 microfiche

"This master record of the laws governing American slavery, covering the years 1789 to 1865, assembles ... the texts of more than 7,000 slavery-related statutes and constitutional articles and amendments from the 11 slaveholding states that formed the Confederate States of America, plus four border states. Materials in the collection cover virtually every aspect of the regulation of blacks of the period."