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Gibbons v Ogden was a landmark case of the United States Supreme Court decided in 1824. The case gave more specific meaning to commerce and changed the division of power between the federal and state governments. For more information on the Gibbons v Ogden case read the fact file below or download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Robert Fulton first used a steam engine to power a boat to steam upriver from New York City to Albany, NY in August of 1807. Soon after, steam ships were carrying goods and people and became an important part of the Industrial Revolution in the United States.
- The State of New York had given Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston exclusive, or unshared, rights to operate steamboats on the rivers in New York.
- Aaron Ogden paid Livingston a fee to share in this business and operate his steamboat ferries between New York and ports in New Jersey.
- Thomas Gibbons was another steamboat operator who instead of buying into the the Fulton/Livingston/Ogden monopoly with a state license, went to the US Congress to get a federal license. Under a 1793 act relating to coastal commerce, congress gave him a license allowing him to operate steamboats along the same routes from New York to New Jersey.
- Ogden took Gibbons to court. The New York court, and on appeal, the New York state Supreme Court, both ruled in favor of Ogden and gave Gibbons orders to stop operating his steamboats.
- Gibbons then appealed to the US Supreme Court, which heard the case in 1824.
- The decision was written by Chief Justice John Marshall. John Marshall fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolution and later became a lawyer. He was picked for the Supreme Court by John Adams and served the longest of any Chief Justice in history, 35 years.
- The ruling was in favor of Thomas Gibbons, allowing him to operate his steamboats between two states.
- In the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, it states that Congress has the ability to “regulate commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”
- The Court’s ruling said that because the steamships were running on rivers that go between states, it was part of interstate commerce, over which the federal government had the power to regulate.
- This was also the first time commerce was defined as not only goods traded between states, but also navigation or travel between states. It was also the first time it was explained that waterways were also included in commerce.
- This ruling allowed for Congress to pass any law that regulates commerce for the nation, as long as the commerce isn’t only within a single state’s boundaries.
- The decision supported free enterprise over monopolies.
- The decision also referred to the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. In Article VI, Clause 2, it was established that the Constitution and federal laws take precedence over state laws and state constitutions.
- This was the first case to challenge an act of Congress.
- This ruling changed the idea of federalism, or the division of power between the federal and state governments.
- Gibbons v Ogden is a case that became the start of an increase in the power of the Congress in the United States, as well as strengthening the power of the federal government.
- The decision increased federal control over economic growth in the United States.
Gibbons v Ogden Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Gibbons v Ogden Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Gibbons v Ogden which was a landmark case of the United States Supreme Court decided in 1824. The case gave more specific meaning to commerce and changed the division of power between the federal and state governments.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Gibbons v Ogden Facts
- The Supreme Court of the United States of America
- River Traffic
- Who Am I?
- The Ruling
- Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle
- The Debate.
- You Be the Judge
- A Landmark Case
- Federal vs. State
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Link will appear as Gibbons v Ogden Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 8, 2017
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These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.