Gibbons v. Ogden


The U.S. Supreme Court case Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), often referred to as the Steamboat Monopoly Case, represented the first Supreme Court case to tackle the thorny issue of interstate commerce and upheld the right of Congress to regulate travel between state lines. Gibbons v. Ogden is consistently ranked by historians as one of the most important landmark decisions in American jurisprudence. The case originated with the development of steam travel in New York. In 1798 the state chancellor Robert R. Livingston secured a legislative monopoly on steam travel in New York waters. In 1807 Livingston and his partner, the famous inventor Robert Fulton, successfully launched their prototype North River Steam Boat on the Hudson River.

In 1815 Fulton and the Livingston family granted the former New Jersey governor Aaron Ogden a license under the monopoly to run steamboats from Elizabethtown, New Jersey, to New York City. In 1819 Ogden sued his former partner, the Georgia businessman...

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Gibbons v. Ogden (National Archives and Records Administration)

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