The Wisconsin Exemption Clause Debate of 1846: An Historical Perspective on the Regulation of Debt

18 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2006

Abstract

This article begins by examining the economic and political causes of the current push towards consumer bankruptcy reform. The article then re-visits a foundational moment of contemporary bankruptcy and debt collection policy: Wisconsin's choice in 1846 to contain exemption language in its constitution. Wisconsin's exemption clause protects some base-line amount of debtor's property from the collection efforts of creditors in order to give the debtor a fresh start. The article examines the 1846 debate for lessons that may be relevant for the 1998 debate and concludes that strong economic and social reasons argue in favor of retaining commitment to the policy of the fresh start.

Keywords: bankruptcy, history, constitutional law, exemptions

Suggested Citation

Trujillo, Bernard, The Wisconsin Exemption Clause Debate of 1846: An Historical Perspective on the Regulation of Debt. Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 1998, No. 3, p. 747, 1998, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=925014

Bernard Trujillo (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

656 S. Greenwich St.
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States

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