Talk:Somerset v Stewart

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Former good article nominee Somerset v Stewart was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 24, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed


The referencing in this article is simply not up to GA standards. None of the borader claims nor the decision itself is referenced. If it is truly as critical as claimed there sould be several books on the subject that could be mentioned in a references or further reading section. On a broader note more information or links pertaining to the history of abolistion in England would be good. Also the Dred Scott comparision could be broken off into a seperate section perhaps with mention of other precedents in Brazil or else where. Eluchil404 20:59, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

The catalyst for the 1776 Declaration of Independence?.[edit]

The article says,

"Somersett's Case ... It is one of the most significant milestones in the campaign to abolish slavery throughout the world and is largely acknowledged to have been the catalyst for the 1776 Declaration of Independence."

To an American, this is an astonishing statement, since Americans think of the Intolerable acts and other actions of King George III and Parliament, and not of this case. I have added a fact template for this statement. Perhaps I will find other ways to question it. --DThomsen8 (talk) 01:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I have added {{WikiProject United States History|class=start|importance=High|attention=yes}} to call attention to this article and its astonishing statement about the US Declaration of Independence.--DThomsen8 (talk) 01:33, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

The american history of the war tends to follow a hero myth rather than the actual facts of what occurred this is why it can be seen as astonishing statement to an american. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Aside from Virginia, loyalist sentiment was stronger in colonies where slavery remained the law of the land past the end of the 18th century (in fact the french canadians sent almost as many volunteers to the continental army as the Carolinas and Georgia put together). Comparatively the most patriotic colonies were north of the Mason Dixon line. The original draft of the DOI even included slavery and the slave trade as a grievance against the king, which was dropped due to fears of losing the southern three. (talk) 02:47, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Source for quote of Lord Mansfield's ruling[edit]

I've just edited this article for internal consistency as to the source of the quoted version given in the "Judgment" section. On second thoughts, however, I wonder if we should be relying so heavily on a newspaper report based largely on memory. Might a restoration of material from the official record of the case be appropriate? David Trochos (talk) 06:42, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

There is no "official record", which is a large part of the problem. Johnbod (talk) 03:32, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough! I've edited the ref. to make the main sources a bit easier to find. David Trochos (talk) 07:33, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Case in art[edit]

I suspect this painting is meant to depict the case:

©Geni 21:49, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

The case's title[edit]

It seems that the wikipedia title for this article is perpetuating an error. Some old documents contain James' name written incorrectly (Somersett), but the real spelling is with a single T. Take for example Steven Wise's recent book: _Though the Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial that Led to the End of Human Slavery_

I suggest we change the title. Any thoughts?Historian 03:27, 19 August 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dennishidalgo (talkcontribs)

Yes, absolutely right. The case report is Somerset v Stewart, so that is simply the correct name. The name usage can be compared favourably in (many more than Somersett's case). Wikidea 11:00, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
No, wrong. One of either of Somersett's case or Somerset's case is the WP:COMMONNAME for this poorly-reported case, which is of far more interest to historians than lawyers, and very well known by the traditional informal name. It should not have been moved without following procedure. Johnbod (talk) 13:58, 6 April 2014 (UTC)


Comparing the texts below:

"James Somersett, an enslaved American, was purchased by Charles Stewart or Steuart, a Customs officer when he was in Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay, a British crown colony in North America. Stewart brought Somersett with him when he returned to England in 1769, but in 1771 the man escaped. After Somersett was recaptured in November, (...)" (this article)

"James Somersett was a slave owned by Charles Stewart, an American customs officer who sailed to Britain for business, landing on 10 November 1769. A few days later Somersett attempted to escape. He was recaptured in November and (...)",_1st_Earl_of_Mansfield

There are two contradictions: 1) Did James Somersett attempt to escape after two years or a few days later after 10 November 1769? 2) Was Charles Stewart English or American? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Quock Waker[edit]

The International section of the article lacks any reference to the Quock Walker case in Massachusetts. Hence, I have added info on it. Also, I have provided some added context for anti-slavery activity during the period. Alcazar77 (talk) 03:45, 13 March 2014 (UTC)