Reform Era and Eastern U.S. Development 1815-1850: Law and Justice Research Article from American Eras

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Legal Polymath

Massachusetts Elite.

Joseph Story personified the dominant forces in early-nineteenth-century Boston much as Edward Livingston typified the aristocracy of old New York. Born in 1779 in Marblehead, then an active port city, he was the oldest of eleven children, although his father also had seven children by a previous marriage. His father, a physician, had been a member of the Sons of Liberty and joined in the Boston Tea Party, while his mother was the daughter of a wealthy Loyalist merchant. He graduated from Harvard College in 1798, ranked second behind the future Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing, and returned to Marblehead to study law in the office of Samuel Sewall, then serving in Congress but soon to become chief justice of Massachusetts. Sewall's other commitments left Story to depend on his own industry and self-discipline, which proved to be prodigious. No figure in the...

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This section contains 878 words
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Buy the Reform Era and Eastern U.S. Development 1815-1850: Law and Justice Encyclopedia Article
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