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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Search Results for: Keyword: 'fugitive slave law'

Term: Paine, Byron 1827 - 1871

Definition:

lawyer, soldier, judge, b. Painesville, Ohio. He studied law, and in 1847 moved to Wisconsin with his father, settling in Milwaukee, where in 1849 he was admitted to the bar. An ardent believer in the anti-slavery cause, Paine gained state and national prominence in 1854 when he acted as counsel for abolitionist Sherman M. Booth (q.v.) in his trial before the state supreme court for violation of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Arguing Booth's case chiefly on the grounds that the Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional and a violation of "state's rights," Paine was successful in winning the habeas corpus suit before the state court. Although the state supreme court action was subsequently nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1859, Paine's fame as a lawyer was assured, and in 1859 he was elected to the state supreme court on a platform labeled "State's Rights and Byron Paine." He served on the state supreme court bench from June, 1859, to Nov., 1864, when he resigned to accept a commission as lieutenant colonel of the 43rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Paine served with this regiment until his resignation on June 4, 1865, at which time he returned to Milwaukee and resumed his law practice. In 1867 he was reappointed to the state supreme court, was subsequently re-elected to that office, and served until his death. Dict. Amer. Biog.; J. R. Berryman, ed., Bench and Bar of Wis. (2 vols., Chicago, 1898); WPA field notes; B. Paine Papers.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Byron Paine Papers for details.

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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