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Legal History Episodes

18TH Century History Of Science & Medicine Legal History Reproductive Justice History Women's History

Abortion in 18th Century New England

Sept. 12, 2022

In 1742, in Pomfret, Connecticut, 19-year-old Sarah Grosvenor discovered she was pregnant, the result of a liaison with 27-year-old Amasa Sessions. Instead of marrying Sarah, Amasa provided her with a physician-prescribed ab…

19TH Century 20TH Century Black History Legal History

The Townsend Family Legacy

July 25, 2022

When Alabama plantation owner Samuel Townsend died in 1856, he willed his vast fortune to his children and his nieces. What seems like an ordinary bequest was anything but, since Townsend’s children and nieces were his ensla…

18TH Century America's Founding Legal History

The Unusual Codicil in Benjamin Franklin's Will

July 18, 2022

When Benjamin Franklin died in April 1790, his last will contained an unusual codicil, leaving 1000 pounds sterling each to Philadelphia and Boston, to be used in a very specific way that he hoped would both help tradesmen i…

Guest: Michael Meyer
18TH Century 19TH Century Black History Legal History

Freedom Suits in Maryland & DC, 1790-1864

Sept. 27, 2021

Slavery was legal in Maryland until November 1, 1864, when a new state constitution prohibited the practice of slavery. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation the year before had declared slaves in the Confederate states to be …