Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward

PETITIONER:Trustees of Dartmouth College
RESPONDENT:William H. Woodward

DECIDED BY: Marshall Court (1812-1823)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

ARGUED: Mar 10, 1818 / Mar 11, 1818 / Mar 12, 1818
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1819

Daniel Webster – for the Trustees of Dartmouth College

Facts of the case

In 1816, the New Hampshire legislature attempted to change Dartmouth College– a privately funded institution–into a state university. The legislature changed the school’s corporate charter by transferring the control of trustee appointments to the governor. In an attempt to regain authority over the resources of Dartmouth College, the old trustees filed suit against William H. Woodward, who sided with the new appointees.


Did the New Hampshire legislature unconstitutionally interfere with Dartmouth College’s rights under the Contract Clause?