Texas v. White

(1869)

Texas v. White was a U.S. Supreme Court case that looked at a claim that bonds owned by Texas since 1850 had been illegally sold by the Confederate state legislature of Texas during the Civil War as a way for the state to fund its war effort against the Union. In the Compromise of 1850, Texas had received $10 million in U.S. bonds in settlement of border claims. After seceding from the Union, Texas sold the bonds without the governor’s endorsement, which had been a requirement of state law. In Texas v. White, the Supreme Court was asked to resolve whether acts of a secessionist government had legal effect after the war and whether or not, under Reconstruction, the states were fully restored to the Union. In his opinion, Chase ruled that Texas did indeed remain a state but also affirmed the unconstitutionally of secession—which meant that the owners of the bonds in question were not legitimate holders and thus the bonds were not negotiable.

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Salmon P. Chase (Library of Congress)

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