Stephen J. Field: Dissent in Munn v. Illinois

(1877)

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Stephen J. Field joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 1863, when American society was experiencing sweeping changes. Early in his tenure, issues arising from the Civil War and Reconstruction dominated the Court’s docket. The emergence of a new industrial order and large-scale corporate enterprises were also raising novel constitutional questions. The justices grappled with increased regulation of the economy in a constitutional system committed to private property and limited government....