What is a contract?An agreement voluntarily entered into by two or more parties in which a promise is made and something of value is given or pledged.
What did the Supreme Court hold in Fletcher v. Peck (1810)?Marshall Court held, in 1810, that states cannot impair the obligations of contracts. The Court struck down an act of the Georgia legislature that attempted to repeal a corrupt land sale the legislature made in its prior term. A state may not use its legislative power to void its own contracts.
What was Jacksonian democracy?A political philosophy associated with President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) that emphasized the importance of the common man, popular election of public officials, states' rights, and expanded economic opportunity. This school of thought reflected the growing political strength of the western and southern regions and a weakening of the political power of the middle and northern Atlantic states.
What is a natural right?A right to which every person is entitled. Natural rights are universal and not dependent upon or bestowed by any government or legal system.


What did the Supreme Court hold in Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)?The Court held that New Hampshire may not impair the charter of Dartmouth College. NH's attempt to open the Dartmouth's Board of Trustees to political appointments, making the College a public institution, violates the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
What did the Supreme Court hold in United States Trust Co. v. New Jersey (1977)?The Court struck down attempts by New York and New Jersey to modify the terms of their earlier bonds agreements as violations of the Contract Clause. Although states have broad police powers to modify private agreements, state attempts to modify their own public contracts to create more favorable terms should be subject to greater scrutiny.
What did the Supreme Court hold in Proprietors of Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge (1837)?The Court held that Massachusetts did not impair the obligation of its contract with the Charles River Bridge Company by chartering the Warren Bridge Company to operate a rival bridge. The Court held that Mass. neither gave exclusive control over the waters of the river nor invaded corporate privilege by interfering with the company's profit-making ability. In balancing private and public rights, the Court found that the community interest in creating new channels of travel and trade had priority.
What did the Supreme Court hold in Stone v. Mississippi (1880)?The Court held that Mississippi did not impair the obligation of the contract it created to create a lottery by later outlawing the lottery. The State legislature does not have the power to bind the decisions of the people and future legislatures. No legislation had the authority to bargain away the public health and morals.


What did the Supreme Court hold in Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell (1934)?The Court upheld Minnesota's Mortgage Moratorium Act which suspended creditors' ability to foreclose homes during the Great Depression. The Court observed that economic conditions threatened to destroy social order and it is implied in every contract that sovereign states will take necessary steps to secure economic order.
What did the Supreme Court hold in Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus (1978)?The Court struck down Minnesota's Private Pension Benefits Protection Act as a violation of the Contract Clause. The law "substantially altered" the provisions of pension agreements which Allied Steel had with its employees.