Assistant Professor of History Matthew Crow recently published an article, “Thomas Jefferson and the Uses of Equity,” in Cambridge University Press’s Law and History Review.
Initially delivered as part of the 2012 “Jeffersonian Democracy in Theory and Practice” conference at Princeton University, Crow’s article focuses on the commentaries of George Wythe, a mentor to Thomas Jefferson and judge of the High Court of Chancery in late 18th century Virginia.
In 1795, Wythe published his own edition of decisions from that newly formed court, which was, as Crow writes in the article’s abstract, “replete with rebukes of his fellow justices in the court system for their lack of erudition and grounding in the distinctive principles and procedures of common law and chancery jurisdictions…Like much of their correspondence, their respective legal arguments as attorneys, and Thomas Jefferson’s own massive commonplace books of common law and equity jurisprudence, Wythe’s extensive commentaries signify not only the continued appeal and display of an early modern humanist legal and intellectual culture, but also the centrality and power of the idea of equity in that culture and for its successors acting in the Atlantic and imperial constitutional crisis of the second half of the eighteenth century.”
Crow’s work has also appeared or is forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of the Global History of Settler Colonialism; Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts; and the Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson.
He joined the HWS faculty in 2012, after earning his B.A. from University of California, San Diego and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a research fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies; the Library of the American Philosophical Society; the Huntington Library; the Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg; and the Jack Miller Center Summer Institute. He is a member of the American Society for Legal History; the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities; the American Historical Association; and the Organization of American Historians.
Crow is also faculty athletic fellow for the Hobart Rowing Team, and the faculty adviser to Chi Phi Fraternity.