Date of Award

Spring 5-1983

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The Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana, established by the first state constitution (1812) as the only appellate court in the judicial system, commenced its work on March 1, 1813. The Court's jurisdiction was limited to civil cases. It also had control over admissions to the bar and the rules for the administration of its own business. Created in the wake of the conflict between proponents of Louisiana's traditional civil law system and the promulgators of the federal government's territorial policy of common law imposition, the Supreme Court reinforced the ultimately accepted continuance of civil law within the limitations of the United States Constitution and Statutes.

The First Minute Book of the Supreme Court is a small, yet significant, part of the documentation of the Court's past. It is a segment of the extensive Louisiana Supreme Court records housed in the Department of Archives and Manuscripts of the Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans. Dating from March, 1813 to May, 1818, the 340-page manuscript details the business of the Court's sessions at New Orleans, the seat of the eastern appellate district. Daily entries include the judges present, the cases before the Court, the disposition of cases, Court rules, and admissions to the bar.

The purpose of this edition is to provide a readable, accessible, and comprehensible document for use by the scholarly and research community. With the addition of missing docket numbers which serve as access points to Supreme Court case records and the annotation of persons, cases, and legal terms, the manuscript becomes an important guide for further investigation. The rendition of the text conforms to modern practices of historical editing recommended in the Harvard Guide to American History. No attempt was made to produce a facsimile of the original.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.