Two Men before the Storm: Arba Crane's Recollection of Dred Scott and the Supreme Court Case That Started the Civil War by Gregory J. Wallance
In the early 1850s, Arba Crane, a young Harvard Law School graduate from Vermont, arrived in St Louis to begin his law career. Working alone late in the evenings, Crane forms a friendship with the office janitor, a slave named Dred Scott. As Scott recounts his life as a slave, Crane realizes that Scott has a legal claim to freedom and persuades him to file a lawsuit. Thus begins a chain of events that ignites a political and legal firestorm across the nation.
Crane fights for Scott's rights for years. The case reaches the US Supreme Court before a spellbound country. But the Court's catastrophic decision in Scott v. Sandford holds that slaves are property without rights and that Congress has no power to halt the spread of slavery. While the decision marks the beginning of the path to civil war, it is not the end of Dred Scott's quest for freedom.
Two Men Before the Storm is based on historical events: the profound friendship between a young lawyer and a slave and a fight for justice that fundamentally changed our nation. A work of historical fiction (with detailed historical endnotes), it is especially timely as we approach a new political battle over nominees to the Supreme Court.