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Perhaps no other Supreme Court decision has had the political impact ofDred Scott v. Sandford. Using a variety of documents that reflect regional opinions and political debates, Paul Finkelman examines the 1857 decision that helped set in motion the events that eventually led to a new birth of freedom and the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Paul Finkelman is the author of An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity (1981); Slavery in the Courtroom (1985), which received the Joseph L. Andrews Award from the American Association of Law Libraries; and His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid (1995), which was a History Book Club selection. He has published numerous articles on American legal history and race relations and lectures frequently on the role of race in American legal development. In 1995, he was designated Virginia Historian of the Year by the Virginia Social Science Association.
Table of Contents
Contents Foreword PrefacePART ONE. Introduction: The Dred Scott Case, Slavery, and the Politics of Law An Overview of the Dred Scott Case A Bad Decision A Complex and Confused Case Slavery in the Territories Who Was Dred Scott? Dred Scott Sues for Freedom In the Federal Court The Jurisdictional Issue and the Plea in Abatement The Case in the Federal District Court Before the Supreme Court The Judges The Compromise Not Taken The Jurisdictional Question Free Blacks under Taney’s Constitution: "They Had No Rights" The Status of Slavery in the Territories under Dred Scott The Territories Clause The Fifth Amendment Law as Politics The Politics of Law The Republican Fear of a Conspiracy The Nationalization of Slavery The Democratic Response Epilogue PART TWO. The Documents 1. Opinions of the Justices Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, Opinion of the Court in Dred Scott, Plaintiff in Error v. John F. A. Sandford Justice James M. Wayne, Concurring Opinion Justice Samuel Nelson, Concurring Opinion Justice Robert Cooper Grier, Concurring Opinion Justice Peter V. Daniel, Concurring Opinion Justice John Archibald Campbell, Concurring Opinion Justice John Catron, Concurring Opinion Justice John McLean, Dissenting Opinion Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis, Dissenting Opinion2. Newspaper Responses to the Dred Scott Decision Varieties of Southern ProSlavery Opinion Enquirer (Richmond), The Dred Scott Case, March 10, 1857 Mercury (Charleston), The Dred Scott Case – Supreme Court on the Rights of the South, April 2, 1857 Daily Picayune (New Orleans), Citizenship, March 21, 1857 The Buchanan Administration’s Paper Endorses the Decision Union (Washington, D.C.), The Dred Scott Case, March 12, 1857 Northern Support for the Dred Scott Decision Journal of Commerce (New York), The Decision of the Supreme Court, March 11, 1857 Journal of Commerce (New York), The Dred Scott Case, March 12, 1857 Post (Pittsburgh), The Dred Scott Case, March 14, 1857 Post (Pittsburgh), Seeking an Issue, March 17, 1857 Opposition to the Dred Scott Decision: A Spectrum of Northern Opinion Tribune (New York), March 7, 1857 Daily Times (New York), The Slavery Question – The Decision of the Supreme Court, March 9, 1857 Evening Post (New York), The Supreme Court of the United States, March 7, 1857 Independent (New York), Wickedness of the Decision in the Supreme Court against the African Race,March 19, 1857 Register (Salem), The U.S. Supreme Court, March 12, 1857 Zion’s Herald and Wesleyan Journal (Boston), The Late Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, March 18, 1857 Lincoln’s Paper Responds Tribune (Chicago), Who Are Negroes? March 12, 1857 Tribune (Chicago), The Dred Scott Case, March 17, 1857 Tribune (Chicago), Judge Curtis’s Opinion, March 19, 1857 A War for Public Opinion: The Washington Union and The New York TribuneUnion (Washington, D.C.), Unreasonable Complaints, March 21, 1857 Tribune (New York), Judge Taney’s Opinion, March 21, 1857 Tribune (New York), Editorial, March 21, 1857 Tribune (New York), Editorial, March 25, 1857 Union (Washington, D.C.), The Supreme Court and the New York Tribune, March 28, 1857 3. Political Debate in the North Frederick Douglass, The Dred Scott Decision: Speech at New York, on the Occasionof the Anniversary of the American Abolition Society, May 11, 1857 Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the Dred Scott Decision Abraham Lincoln, The "House Divided" Speech at Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858 Stephen A. Douglas, Speech at Chicago, Illinois, July 9, 1858 Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Chicago, Illinois, July 10, 1858 Stephen A. Douglas, Speech at Springfield, Illinois, July 17, 1858 The Debate at Freeport: Lincoln’s Questions and Douglas’s Answers, August 27, 1858 The Debate at Jonesboro, September 15, 1858 Congressional Debate "Bust of Chief Justice Taney," Congressional Globe, February 23, 1865 APPENDICES Chronology of Events Related to Dred Scott (1787-1870) Questions for Consideration Selected Bibliography Index