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Dred Scott's Advocate: A Biography of Roswell M. Field

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Told through the eyes of the brilliant attorney and plaintiff who participated in this historic courtroom drama, this story re-creates the suspense of more than a decade of litigation, as Dred Scott maneuvered his way through an often hostile American judicial system in the hope of achieving his freedom. Field took the case from Missouri all the way to the United States Supreme Court, whose decision against Scott set off a national furor, helped elect Abraham Lincoln president, and was a major event contributing ...
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Overview

Told through the eyes of the brilliant attorney and plaintiff who participated in this historic courtroom drama, this story re-creates the suspense of more than a decade of litigation, as Dred Scott maneuvered his way through an often hostile American judicial system in the hope of achieving his freedom. Field took the case from Missouri all the way to the United States Supreme Court, whose decision against Scott set off a national furor, helped elect Abraham Lincoln president, and was a major event contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War. Kaufman vitalizes the often dull official law records and brings to life those who once participated in this famous legal drama. He puts Field and Scott at center stage and convincingly shows why Field is remembered not for his professional services to prominent St. Louis landowners who paid him well, but for helping the untutored black slave who paid him nothing. Little has been known about this noteworthy Missourian, but the author's skillful reading of his sources allows a thoughtful and revealing portrait of Field and makes a compelling case for his importance in history. Dred Scott's Advocate effectively shows that the antislavery and proslavery forces fought their battles in the nation's judicial chambers before they fought them with guns and cannons at Chickamauga, Manassas, Shiloh, and Gettysburg. This well-written and engaging story of Field, Scott, and the Dred Scott case will be of interest to all readers of American, African American, and legal history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kaufman, a freelance scholar based in St. Louis, uses scattered archival collections and secondary sources to flesh out the life of the lawyer who became Dred Scott's attorney in 1852 and helped steer his case to the Supreme Court. Although one of the best property lawyers in Missouri, the antislavery Field was unable to overcome the proslavery bias of the court. Fragmentary evidence leads to a heavy use of phrases like perhaps and must have been. Frustrating because of this speculativeness, Kaufman's work is nonetheless a well-written attempt to re-create the life of an intriguing minor actor in the history of the antebellum United States. For academic libraries.Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
Booknews
Recreates the story of more than a decade of litigation as Dred Scott maneuvered his way through the American judicial system with the help of Field, who took the case from Missouri to the Supreme Court. For readers of American, African American, and legal history. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826210920
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/1996
  • Series: Missouri Biography Series
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.02 (d)

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