100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Popular Sovereignty

“If you've Found him, you May Kill Him”

Luther v. Borden

48 U.S. 1 (1849)

The reputation of Martin Luther (1802–1860) stems not from who he was, but rather, from his political actions that led to a U.S. Supreme Court case. Before 1842, Luther epitomized the republicanism of his era—the independent Yankee who worked hard, believed in his religion (Methodism), and cared for his aging mother. Indeed, this shoemaker, trader, and farmer from Warren, Rhode Island, was hardly known at all until he was thrust into the pages of American constitutional history.

Luther was part of the Rhode Island Reform/Suffrage Movement, which had begun in the early nineteenth century. Thomas Wilson Dorr, the leader at the time of these events, continued the effort to democratize ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles