the dreds are gone

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March 6th 1857: Dred Scott v. Sandford

On this day in 1857, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark case Dred Scott v. Sandford. The case originated when Dred Scott, a slave, claimed that because his master - army surgeon Dr. John Emerson - took him to the free territory of Wisconsin, he was a free man. By the time of the case, Scott and his family belonged to Emerson’s widow Eliza Irene Sanford, who refused to allow Scott to purchase his freedom. In response, Scott sued her and argued that he was already free due to his time in Wisconsin. State court declared Scott free in 1850, but Sanford’s brother appealed the decision and the case ultimately made its way to the Supreme Court in 1856; a clerical error meant Sanford’s name was mispelled in court records. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that African-Americans were not United States citizens because they were not part of the Constitutional ‘political community’, and thus could not sue in federal court. The decision also established that Congress could not ban slavery in federal territories, and held that slaveowners’ right to slave property was guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. The Court’s complete rejection of African-American rights evoked outrage from Northern anti-slavery forces, and emboldened Southern slaveowners as they sought to expand the ‘peculiar institution’. The decision, written by Chief Justice Roger Taney, is thus considered one of the causes of the American Civil War as it flared sectional tensions. Taney’s tenure ended with his death in 1864, but due to his role in the Dred Scott decision, he has gone down in history as one of America’s worst Chief Justices. Scott and his family were freed by a new master two months after the decision, and found employment in St. Louis; however, Scott died of tuberculosis in November 1858. The Dred Scott decision is one of the most disastrous in American history, and was overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.

“[African-Americans] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit”
- Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford

it is pay day and i just couldn’t help myself!!! half of these were bought because of tilly-and-her-books blogging about them. :D

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard || The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch ||  Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn || Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas || Half a King - Joe Abercrombie