Andrew Judson seems to have been very much a self made man. He was born in Ashford, Connecticut to a poor clergyman, and had very little formal education. Since he was unable to afford college, he studied law at an attorney's office, and was admitted to the bar in 1806. After practicing law for a few years in Vermont and then Connecticut, Judson began what would be a fairly long political career when he was elected to the General Assembly. In 1816 he switched his political allegiance to the Democratic Party.
From 1819 to 1834, Judson was active in state politics, holding the post of State Attorney for Windham County, and serving in both the state House of Representatives and Senate. In 1835 Judson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Also in that year he undertook a controversial prosecution of Prudence Crandall for operating a school for black and white girls. Although the case ended in a mistrial, the school was burned by a mob and never reopened. In 1836, Judson resigned his seat in the house to fill a vacant judgeship in the Sixth District of Connecticut. Judson continued to serve as a judge until his death in 1853.
In 1840 Judson ruled in the Amistad case that the blacks of the Amistad were not slaves, but rather free Africans, and that the President should arrange for their transport back to Africa.
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