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Indiana Legislature proceedings from 19th century now available online

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A joint project between the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Library and the IU Digital Library Program has digitized nearly 8,000 pages of General Assembly proceedings from the 1800s, creating an online repository that is accessible free of charge.

The Brevier Legislative Reports, published biennially from 1858 to 1887, offer a verbatim accounting of day-to-day activities in the Indiana Legislature. All sessions are covered, with the exception of the latter part of the 1875 Regular Session, the 1875 Special Session, and the 1877 Regular and Special Sessions.

The prosecution of the Civil War dominates discussion during the early years, but additional significant issues of the times were debated, including women’s suffrage, railroads, election of U.S. senators, temperance and prohibition, education and civil rights.

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said the reports offer a glimpse into periods of sweeping legal change that followed the Civil War.

“The Brevier Legislative Reports will provide scholars and legal practitioners with a more fulsome and reliable view of the social and political story in one of the nation’s largest industrializing states,” Shepard said. “The Maurer School’s librarians and the Digital Library Program have rescued from virtual oblivion a rich legal treasure of national proportions.”

The digitization project was made possible by a Library Services and Technology grant under the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums. The grant – awarded in 2008 – was administered by the Indiana State Library. The project received a grant-in-aid from the IU vice-provost for research.

Access to the reports is available online.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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