Curtis, George Ticknor

Curtis, George Ticknor,

1812–94, American lawyer and writer, b. Watertown, Mass. A highly successful patent attorney, Curtis served in the Massachusetts legislature (1840–43) and as U.S. commissioner at Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. He was one of the defense counsel in the Dred Scott CaseDred Scott Case,
argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856–57. It involved the then bitterly contested issue of the status of slavery in the federal territories. In 1834, Dred Scott, a black slave, personal servant to Dr. John Emerson, a U.S.
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. Closely associated with Daniel WebsterWebster, Daniel,
1782–1852, American statesman, lawyer, and orator, b. Salisbury (now in Franklin), N.H. Early Career

He graduated (1801) from Dartmouth College, studied law, and, after an interval as a schoolmaster, was admitted (1805) to the bar.
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, he was one of the "Cotton Whigs" who became Democrats. He wrote biographies of Daniel Webster (1870) and James Buchanan (1883), and many legal treatises. His Constitutional History of the United States … to the Close of the Civil War (Vol. I, 1889; Vol. II, ed. by J. C. Clayton, 1896), his most notable work, is the classic Federalist interpretation of the Constitution.
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Curtis, George Ticknor

(1812–94) lawyer, historian; born in Watertown, Mass. Harvard educated, he practiced law in Worcester and Boston and was patent attorney for, among others, Samuel F. B. Morse. He opposed slavery and served as defense attorney in the Dred Scott case (1857), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held slaves were not citizens and thus had no constitutional protection. He wrote two studies vindicating failed Union General George B. McClellan (1886, 1887) and later produced important works on constitutional history.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.