Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West

Project Information

Petitioning for Freedom is an ambitious and collaborative project that draws on habeas corpus petitions throughout the American West from 1812 to 1924. These petitions consist of marginalized people's challenges to enslavement, child removal, domestic abuses, deportation, incarceration, and institutionalization, revealing a powerful history of legal mobilization among a diverse cast of petitioners. Our database allows visitors to navigate thousands of records from a number of perspectives to invite creative exploration of these vital histories. We are excited to provide access to these otherwise unpublished and largely unindexed records to constituent and descendant communities whose personal and political histories are featured in these cases, and to offer evidence of legal networks, legal reform, and legal mobilization for scholars concerned with the intersections of law and power.

person looking at records behind an archival volume
News & Articles