Women in Factories 1908: Muller v. Oregon

Women in Factories 1908: Muller v. Oregon

Women in Factories 1908: Muller v. Oregon
Women in Factories 1908: Muller v. Oregon

Muller v. State of Oregon

Muller v. State of Oregon, a 1908 U.S. Supreme Court case that, although appearing to support the health and welfare of female employees, actually resulted in extra protective legislation that was destructive to workplace equality for years. The issue was a 1903 Oregon legislation prohibiting women from working more than 10 hours in a single day. Curt Muller, the proprietor of a laundry, was fined $10 in 1905 for allowing a supervisor to force Mrs. E. Gotcher to work more than 10 hours.

Muller’s counsel, William D. Fenton, argued in front of the United States Supreme Court that the Act violated Mrs. Gotcher’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by prohibiting her from freely contracting with her employer. However, the state’s counsel, Louis D. Brandeis, opted to argue that because of their bodily differences from males, women need “particular protection.”

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The Cuban Constitution of 1901

The Cuban Constitution of 1901

The Cuban Constitution of 1901
The Cuban Constitution of 1901

Christopher Columbus (c. 1451–1506), María Cristina of Spain (1858–1929), William McKinley (1843–1901), Leonard Wood (1860–1927), Orville Platt (1827–1905), Domingo Méndez Capote (1863–1934)

In October 1492, on his first journey, Christopher Columbus made landfall in what is now the Bahamas before advancing to claim what would become Cuba. Until 1898, when the USS Maine mysteriously exploded and drowned in Havana Harbor, Spain governed Cuba. Almost the whole crew was killed.

The episode pulled America, under President McKinley’s leadership, and Spain, under Queen Regent Mara Cristina’s administration, into the Spanish-American War, which was itself an extension of the Cuban War for Independence, in which the US had engaged on Cuba’s behalf. After Spain surrendered, American soldiers remained on the island under the direction of Military Governor Leonard Wood, assisting in the construction of fundamental infrastructure.

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The German Civil Code 1900 German empire

The German Civil Code 1900 German Empire

The German Civil Code 1900 German empire
Taking effect at the turn of the twentieth century, the civil code of Germany, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, satisfied a long-held desire for legal uniformity in the German Empire.
The German Civil Code 1900 German empire

German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or German Civil Code, is a corpus of codified private law that came into force throughout the German empire in 1900. It is still in effect, notwithstanding the changes. The code arose from a desire for a truly national legislation that would supersede the frequently contradictory traditions and rules of Germany’s different areas.

The code is broken down into five sections. The first is a broad term that includes personal rights and legal personhood. Obligations, including notions of sale and contract; objects, including immovable and moveable property; domestic relations; and succession are the topics of the other four sections.

The gemeines Recht, or common law, was the notion of law represented in the code, which was based on the emperor Justinian’s 6th-century codification of Roman law. Some parts of Germanic tribal law impacted the code in family law and to some extent in property law.

Although feudal law had influenced customary law to some extent, it was again influenced by Roman law in the 15th century, when Roman law was imported into Germany in an attempt to organize traditions and legal structures. It supplanted custom in certain regions, especially where there was no conflict between the two; in others, Roman and customary law coexisted, with custom prevailing when irreconcilable disparities remained.

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Corporate Personhood and Liability 1897

Corporate Personhood and Liability 1897

Corporate Personhood and Liability 1897
Corporate Personhood and Liability 1897

Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, Salomon v. A. Salomon & Co., Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury (1823–1921)

The juridical entity, a body that exists solely because of the law, is one of the law’s numerous fictions. A corporation, for example, can negotiate, possess property, sue, and be sued purely on the basis of the legislation that constituted it. (In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the Supreme Court declared that corporations had the same contract rights as natural individuals.)

Many firms functioned as partnerships prior to the formation of corporations. However, joint and several responsibility posed a problem: each member was responsible for the partnership’s whole debts and responsibilities, and the partnership may be held accountable for a partner’s personal debts.

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Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate but Equal 1896

Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate but Equal 1896

Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate but Equal 1896
This memorial plaque is at the corner of Press and Royal Streets in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Homer Plessy was arrested.
Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate but Equal 1896

Homer Plessy (1863–1925), Henry Billings Brown (1836–1913),

John Marshall Harlan (1833–1911)

The historic 1896 United States Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson established the validity of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” theory. The lawsuit came from an event in which Homer Plessy, an African American railway passenger, refused to seat in a car reserved for Black people in 1892.

The Supreme Court rejected Plessy’s claim that his constitutional rights had been infringed, ruling that a legislation that “implies only a juridical distinction” between white and black persons is not unconstitutional. As a result, Jim Crow laws and segregated public accommodations for people of different races were popular.

Plessy v. Ferguson: Background and Context

Following the removal of federal soldiers from the South as a result of the 1877 Compromise, Democrats secured control of state legislatures across the area, essentially ending Reconstruction.

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New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893
The inaugural meeting of the National Council of Women in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1896.
New Zealand Women’s Suffrage 1893

Mary Ann Müller (c. 1820–1901), Kate Sheppard (1847–1934),

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow (1833–1915)

Mary Ann Müller of Nelson, New Zealand, produced and distributed booklets campaigning for women’s rights under the alias Femmina in 1869. Sixteen years later, in 1885, the United States’ Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) established fifteen branches in New Zealand, continuing Müller’s effort.

Kate Sheppard of Christchurch was named national franchise superintendent and leader of the women-focused national organization two years later. Sheppard gathered a lot of support and publicity for the group by enlisting the help of well-known people from all around the country.

On September 19, 1893, David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow signed the Electoral Bill, making New Zealand the first self-governing nation in the world to provide women the right to vote. Years of gatherings in towns and cities around the country resulted in the Bill, with women traveling long distances to hear lectures and speeches, pass resolutions, and sign petitions. From the early 1880s through 1893, a number of petitions were presented to both Houses of Parliament.

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The Sherman Antitrust Act 1890

The Sherman Antitrust Act 1890

The Sherman Antitrust Act 1890
Senator John Sherman of Ohio, principal author of The Sherman Antitrust Act 1890

John Sherman (1823–1900)

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed on July 2, 1890, was the first federal law to prohibit monopolistic corporate activities.

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first legislation to abolish trusts in the United States. Senator John Sherman of Ohio, who served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes, was honored with the name. Similar legislation had been established in other states, but they were only applicable to intrastate firms.

The Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted in response to Congress’ constitutional authority to control interstate trade. (See earlier milestone documents: the Constitution, Gibbons v. Ogden, and the Interstate Commerce Act for additional information.) On April 8, 1890, the Senate enacted the Sherman Anti-Trust Act 51–1, and on June 20, 1890, the House passed it unanimously by a vote of 242–0. On July 2, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the measure into law.

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