American Minute with Bill Federer SEPT. 10 - Son of a Boston Tea Party 'Indian' became youngest Supreme Court Justice
American Minute with Bill Federer
SEPT. 10 - Son of a Boston Tea Party 'Indian' became youngest Supreme Court Justice
His father was a Boston Tea Party "Indian."
He graduated second in his class from Harvard, was a U.S. Representative, then Massachusetts Speaker of the House.
At age 32, he was appointed as the youngest Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
His name was Joseph Story, and he died SEPTEMBER 10, 1845.
Serving on the Supreme Court for 34 years, he helped establish the illegality of the slave trade in the Amistad case, 1841.
Joseph Story helped found the Law School at Harvard, stating in a speech there in 1829:
"There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation."
1833, Joseph Story commented on the pamphlet 'The Relation of
Christianity to Civil Government in the United States' written by Rev.
Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina:
can not long exist without an alliance with religion; and that
Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and sold foundations
of free government."
In Vidal v. Girard's Executors, 1844, Justice Joseph Story wrote:
not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the
annoyance of believers or the injury of the public....
unnecessary for us, however, to consider the establishment of a school
or college, for the propagation of...Deism, or any other form of
infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian
may not laymen instruct in the general principles of Christianity as
well as ecclesiastics...We cannot overlook the blessings, which such
laymen by their conduct, as well as their instructions, may, nay must,
impart to their youthful pupils.
Why may not the Bible, and
especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and
taught as a Divine Revelation...its general precepts expounded, its
evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality
is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences
of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay
teachers? It may well be asked, what is there in all this, which is
positively enjoined, inconsistent with the spirit or truths of the
religion of Christ?
Are not these truths all taught by
Christianity, although it teaches much more? Where can the purest
principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the
Story was appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison-the 'Chief
Architect of the Constitution' who introduced the First Amendment in
the first session of Congress.
Joseph Story wrote in Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840:
the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to
it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal,
sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive
encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the
private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.
attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state
policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal
disapprobation, if not universal indignation.
But the duty of
supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very
different from the right to force the consciences of other men or to
punish them for worshipping God in the manner which they believe their
accountability to Him requires...
The rights of conscience are,
indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by
God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority without a
criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as of revealed
Justice Story continued:
real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less
to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating
Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to
prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a
hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government."
In Commentaries on the Constitution,
1833, Justice Joseph Story explained that the reason the Federal
Government had no jurisdiction over religion was because religion was
under each individual State's jurisdiction:
"In some of the
States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other,
Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and
in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending
It was impossible that there should not arise perpetual
strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical
ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a
The only security was in the abolishing the power.
this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been
followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of
Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is
left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according
to their own sense of justice and the State constitutions."
Regarding the Second Amendment, Justice Joseph Story wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833 (3:§§ 1890--91):
"The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted...
militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden
foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of
power by rulers.
It is against sound policy for a free people
to keep...standing armies in time of peace...from...the facile means,
which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the
government, or trample upon the rights of the people.
of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as
the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong
moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and
will...enable the people to resist and triumph over them..."
Story warned further:
yet...it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a
growing indifference to any system of militia discipline...that
indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus
gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our
national bill of rights."