Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward 

17 U.S. 518 (1819), held that the Charter of Dartmouth College granted in 1769 by King George VII of England was a contract and, as such, could not be impaired by the New Hampshire State Legislature. State legislators had tried to alter the contract's terms regarding the continuance of the board of trustees, an effort rejected by the Court. The decision had far-reaching impact in its application to business charters, protecting businesses and corporations from a great deal of government regulation.

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