The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.79
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 67%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $9.79   
  • New (7) from $23.29   
  • Used (8) from $9.79   


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, The Dred Scott Case is a masterful examination of the most famous example of judicial failure—the case referred to as "the most frequently overturned decision in history." On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the Supreme Court's decision against Dred Scott, a slave who maintained he had been emancipated as a result of having lived with his master in the free state of Illinois and in federal territory where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise. The decision did much more than resolve the fate of an elderly black man and his family: Dred Scott v. Sanford was the first instance in which the Supreme Court invalidated a major piece of federal legislation. The decision declared that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the federal territories, thereby striking a severe blow at the legitimacy of the emerging Republican party and intensifying the sectional conflict over slavery. This book represents a skillful review of the issues before America on the eve of the Civil War. The first third of the book deals directly with the with the case itself and the Court's decision, while the remainder puts the legal and judicial question of slavery into the broadest possible American context. Fehrenbacher discusses the legal bases of slavery, the debate over the Constitution, and the dispute over slavery and continental expansion. He also considers the immediate and long-range consequences of the decision.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Probably the most thorough study of any Supreme Court decision ever undertaken."—C. Vann Woodward, The New York Review of Books

"A masterful reexamination of some of the most complex and enduring American constitutional problems...I know of no other book on the slavery controversy that contributes so much to the specialist's knowledge yet is so readily accessible to the general reader."—David Herbert Donald, Chronicle of Higher Education

"Fehrenbacher's book is the best history of a landmark constitutional case ever written, but it is far more: it is a probing and lucid study of slavery in American political and legal history....A masterpiece of the historian's art." —Richard B. Bernstein, Harvard Law Record

Richard B. Bernstein
Fehrenbacher's book is the best history of a landmark constituional case ever written, but it is far more: it is a probing and lucid study of slavery in American political and legal history..... A masterpiece of the historian's art.
Harvard Law Record
C. Vann Woodward
Probably the most thorough study of any Supreme Court decision ever undertaken.
New York Review of Books
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195145885
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/24/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 796,154
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Don E. Fehrenbacher was William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Race, Slavery, and the Origins of the Republic
2. Slavery in the American Constitutional System
3. The Pursuit of Freedom
4. Expansion and Slavery in Early National Politics
5. Expansion and Slavery in a Continental Republic
6. The Territorial Question, 1848-1854
7. Toward Judicial Resolution
8. The Taney Court and Judicial Power
9. Dred Scott and His Travels
10. Versus Emerson
11. Versus Sandford
12. Before the Supreme Court
13. Voices in Confusion
14. What the Court Decided
15. The Opinion of the Court: Negroes and Citizenship
16. The Opinion of the Court: Slavery in the Territories
17. Concurrence and Dissent
18. The Judges Judged
19. The Lecompton Connection
20. The Freeport Doctrine
21. Not Peace But a Sword
22. Reasons Why
23. In the Stream of History

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Factually correct book; nothing new presented.

    A good topic to discuss and read about, but I did not find anything in the book that illuminated the subject any more for me. If you have little or no knowledge of Dred Scott and his landmark case, then this is a worthwhile book. For most student, this issue is usually discussed at some length while in prep or high school.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    A most enlightening book.

    The book would be worth it just for the extensive background on slavery. The editing could have been a little sharper. Every citizen should know about the Dred Scott case.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)