Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Anyone have any fun tid-bits about the Dred Scott case?

In my American History class we're role-playing. My 2 friends and I am lawyers against Dred Scott. Any help?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    the case went all the way to the supreme court where chief justic roger brook taney(pronuonced tawny) from maryland ruled with an iron hand. he said he ruled as he did to prevent civil war but i think he was a racist.

    he Taney Court, 1836–1864

    Unlike Marshall, who had supported a broad role for the federal government in the area of economic regulation, Taney and the other justices appointed by Jackson more often favored the power of the states. In a series of commerce-clause cases exemplified by Mayor of New York v. Miln (1837), Taney and his colleagues sought to devise a more nuanced means of accommodating competing federal and state claims of regulatory power. Taney further was a pioneer of what has become known as the police power of state governments -- the power to regulate in the interests of the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the state's citizens. By the 1850s, Taney had won the respect even of ardent supporters of Chief Justice Marshall and appeared destined to go down in American history as one of the greatest Chief Justices ever to sit on the Court.

    Taney and his colleagues did, however, depart from their support for state sovereignty in one area: state laws restricting the rights of slaveholders. In Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), the Court held that the Constitutional prohibition against state laws that would emancipate any "person held to service or labor in [another] state" barred Pennsylvania from punishing a Maryland man who had seized a former slave and her child, then had taken them back to Maryland without seeking an order from the Pennsylvania courts permitting the abduction. In his opinion for the Court, Justice Joseph Story held not only that states were barred from interfering with enforcement of federal fugitive slave laws, but that they also were barred from assisting in enforcing those laws. The Taney Court extended the rule in Prigg ten years later in Moore v. Illinois (1852), holding that "any state law or regulation which interrupts, impedes, limits, embarrasses, delays or postpones the right of the owner to the immediate possession of the slave, and the immediate command of his service, is void."

    [edit] Dred Scott Decision

    Five years later came the case that destroyed Taney's historical reputation and indirectly led to the Civil War—Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). Despite the willingness of five members of the Court to dismiss the lawsuit by Dred Scott seeking his freedom on grounds situated in Missouri law governing who could sue and be sued, Taney wrote what became regarded as the opinion for the Court, presenting Taney's version of the origins of the United States and the Constitution as substantiation for his holdings that Congress had no authority to restrict the spread of slavery into federal territories -- and that such previous attempts to restrict slavery's spread as the 1820 Missouri Compromise were unconstitutional.

    The Dred Scott v. Sandford decision was widely condemned at the time by opponents of slavery as an illegitimate use of judicial power. Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party accused the Taney Court of carrying out the orders of the "slave power" and of conspiring with President James Buchanan to undo the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Current scholarship supports that second charge, as it appears that Buchanan put significant political pressure behind the scenes on Justice Robert Grier to obtain at least one vote from a justice from outside the South to support the Court's sweeping decision.

    Taney's intemperate language only added to the fury of those who opposed the decision. As he explained the Court's ruling, African-Americans, free or slave, could not be citizens of any state, because the drafters of the Constitution had viewed them as "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

    (The full context of Taney's statement:

    "It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted; but the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." — from Taney's ruling.)

    Author Tom Burnam, in Dictionary of Misinformation (1975), commented (pp. 257–58) that "it seems unfair to quote the remark above out of a context which includes the phrase 'that unfortunate race,' etc."

    Taney's own attitudes toward slavery were more complex. Taney not only em

    Source(s): wikipedia+ i'm a history major.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well you could point out the 'appalling' notion that if the court were to rule in favor of Dred Scott then 'yikes' a 'Son of Africa' might some day become President of the US of A.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Dude, I don't know who this guy is.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.