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Number of posts : 18
Registration date : 2011-01-16

PostSubject: Prairie lawyer   Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:33 am

Lincoln returned to practicing law in Springfield, handling "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer."[71][72] Twice a year for 16 years, he "rode the circuit" for 10 weeks at a time, appearing in county seats in the mid-state region when the county courts were in session.[73] Lincoln handled many transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion, particularly the conflicts arising from the operation of river barges under the many new railroad bridges. As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored those interests, but ultimately represented whoever hired him. His reputation grew, and he appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing a case involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge.[74] In 1849, he received a patent for a "device to buoy vessels over shoals."[75] The idea was never commercialized, but Lincoln is the only president to hold a patent.[76]
In 1851, he represented Alton & Sangamon Railroad in a dispute with one of its shareholders, James A. Barret, who had refused to pay the balance on his pledge to buy shares in the railroad, on the grounds that the company had changed its original train route.[77][78] Lincoln successfully argued that the railroad company was not bound by its original charter in existence at the time of Barret's pledge; the charter was amended in the public interest, to provide a newer, superior and less expensive route, and the corporation retained the right to demand Mr. Barret's payment. The decision by the Illinois Supreme Court has been cited by numerous other courts in the nation.[77] Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court 175 times, 51 times as sole counsel, of which 31 were decided in his favor.[79] From 1853 to 1860 Lincoln was a lawyer and lobbyist for the Illinois Central Railroad, one of the largest corporations in the world at that time.[80]
Lincoln's most notable criminal trial occurred in 1858 whe

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