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

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Overview


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.
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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
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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: 785,122
  • 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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
PART ONE: OUT OF THE PAST
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
PART TWO: A DECADE OF LITIGATION
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
PART THREE: CONSEQUENCES AND ECHOES
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
Notes
Index

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Customer Reviews

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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.

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  • 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

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