The Broderick–Terry duel (subsequently called "the last notable American duel") was fought between United States Senator David C. Broderick, of California, and ex-Chief Justice David S. Terry, of the Supreme Court of California, on September 13, 1859. The two men had been friends and political allies within the Democratic Party. However, Broderick was an abolitionist, whereas Terry was pro-slavery. Intense political disagreements led to bitter resentments, which in turn led to a challenge to a duel and the fatal encounter in a ravine near Lake Merced in San Francisco.
Not long after the duel, both public opinion and legislation turned strongly against the custom of duelling, although currently not all of the U.S. states have laws that specifically ban duelling. The site of the duel is now a registered California Historical Landmark.
Broderick and Terry both belonged to the Democratic Party, and were originally good friends. Broderick had said of Terry that he considered him to be "the only honest man on the Supreme bench". And on one occasion, Broderick was the only person who did not turn his back on Terry in his time of need.
That all changed after Terry failed to be re-elected. He believed that this loss occurred because of Broderick's antislavery campaign against the faction of the party to which Terry belonged. Conversely, Broderick blamed Terry's faction of the party for trying to bring him down. Various accusations and counter-accusations followed, in one of which Broderick said
I see that Terry has been abusing me. I now take back the remark I once made that he is the only honest judge in the Supreme Court. I was his friend when he was in need of friends, for which I am sorry. Had the vigilance committee disposed of him as they did of others, they would have done a righteous act.