Skip to main content

tv   Landmark Cases Supreme Court Landmark Case Scott v. Sandford  CSPAN  July 13, 2020 9:35pm-11:09pm EDT

9:35 pm
landmark cases, c-span special history series producing cooperation with the national constitution center. exploring the human stories and constitutional dramas behind 12 historic supreme court decisions. pierre >>
9:36 pm
quite often and many of our most greatest decisions are ones that the court took that were quite unpopular. >> let's go to a few cases that illustrate very dramatically and visually, what it means to live in a society of 310 million different people who help stick together because they believed in a rule of law. >> c-span and the national constitution center. welcome you to the land more cases. our 12 part history series. exploring the people and the stories behind some of the supreme court's most famous dissidents. tonight, we will be learning more about the dred scott case of 1857. let me introduce you to our two guests to tell us about the history and impact of this case. chris bracey is at george washington university law
9:37 pm
school professor. he is also the co-editor of a book called the dreads caught case and contemporary perspectives. welcome. >> martha jones is at the university of michigan. she is a history professor there and also the chair of afro american and co-director of the race line history -- in high. school >> in 1857 the supreme court ruled the blacks whether free or slave or not citizens of the united states. they also declared unconstitutional missouri compromise which limited the spread of slavery to new territories saying that congress did not have the authority to prohibit -- i will ask you to set the table for us in the united states. what was the background that gave rise -- what was the country in the state of at that point? >> there are a few things that were important for dred scott. it was not just a fugitive slave act. 1850 really marks a turning point in the nation's thinking about slavery slavery.
9:38 pm
a rethinking of slavery. what do i mean? here, the fugitive slave act is understood not only yeah -- slave holders to reach into the north to retrieve those fugitive, but it is set to nationalized slavery once again. make northerners complicit in the institution, even in those states and territories that had abolished slavery. it is probably the most important context to dred scott. >> the supreme court decides which cases it will hair so i didn't decide to take the case of the slave dred scott. >> again, as martha was saying this is a period of closely re-nationalism. this is a case that allows the court the opportunity to take on one of the most biggest and divisive questions of the day which is, is america going to be nationally a slave state? the court can decide it's questions of course. it has a discretionary -- this is when i was going to be an issue for the court or the
9:39 pm
legislature or the president going forward. it was an opportunity to answer one of the more difficult questions facing a nation. >> we are also trying to find connectivity between the cases in our series. last was marble reverses medicine. this is 50 plus years later and it's really the first time that the court uses the judicial review process of power that it gave itself and marbury correct? >> it was the first time in an exercise that extraordinary power. recognizing that was a big step. it took 50 years for the court to do it again. notice how the court does it in the most dramatic fashion and what really sets dred scott apart is the fact that it is the ultimate anti-presidential case. it is exactly what you don't want to do. it is a cautionary tale. it is for the court to step in an exercise judicial review in this particular way and striking down the compromise and this particular climate, it was a bad political decision. >> is it correct to say that
9:40 pm
even inside the supreme court, the sped decision was viewed as the worst decision the court ever made? >> absolutely. it can talk to scholars from various perspectives on the constitution. most will agree that this was probably the most infamous supreme court decision. >> critics say this is an instance of the court really overreaching -- that it doesn't have the capacity in fact to resolve. in doing so, really damaging the court's reputation for years to come. there are consequences not only for the nation on the question of slavery but consequences for the standing of the supreme court going forward. >> we are going to hear a lot of names during the next 90 minutes, but among them, the most important. dred scott and harriet scott. who were they very briefly? >> dred scott was asleep. he was born in 1800. he is a slave to the blow flynn
9:41 pm
family. they are in the hampton road syria and virginia. they eventually moved with the kids and dred scott moved alabama to become farmers. for a cotton plantation. it does not work out too well for them. they decide to move to st. louis missouri in 1830. they moved red and the kids to missouri and open up a jefferson boarding house. the next year, elizabeth taylor low dies. the following year, peter blow actually passes as well. that before he does he makes arrangements -- dred scott sojourns with dr. anderson and ultimately connects him with harriott. >> we will get a chance to get into more detail about this and why they became -- i'm going to ask you to also spend more time later, who was roger tawny. >> i think tawny it's correct.
9:42 pm
taney is a former sleep sleeve holder. he was the attorney general for the state of maryland, attorney general of the united states, by the mid 18 thirties he becomes chief justice of the u.s. supreme court. he is a colonization us, that he is someone who advocates that a former slave cannot live apiece ugly in the united states, and they should be removed voluntarily to places like liberia. he was a catholic living in the archdiocese of maryland. i think most important, for thinking about dred scott, he is someone who has thought, for many many years about the question a free black citizenship, even before we get to 1857. it is a question that has been on taney's mine since the 18 twenties and thirties, when as attorney general, he had already begun to work out his
9:43 pm
theory about black citizenship. we know his conclusion is that black people cannot be citizens in the united states. >> numerically, we will tell you about the country at this point. the total population of the united states in the 18 fifties was 31 plus million people. slaves accounted for an additional 3.9 or 4 million people. there were about a half 1 million free blacks in the united states. to the free blacks, for example live in a certain part of the country? >> free blacks -- there were fully blacks in the south. free blacks in the north. a lot of times after the emancipation, if a slave were emancipated, the slave would leave the jurisdiction, but oftentimes, they have family relationships that kept them in the same place where they were previously enslaved. it was not uncommon to find three blacks among slave populations in the south and free blacks in the north. >> in urban centers, like st. louis, like baltimore, which is
9:44 pm
taney's hometown, we have an increasingly growing community for free african americans. baltimore, taney's hometown, has the largest free black population country in the 25,000 people at the eve of the civil war. it helps us begin to understand, it is a touchstone for thinking about the problems for dred scott. >> the decisions would make would affect the fate of the free blacks as. well >> these were men and women, boys and girls, many of whom had been free across generations, had been themselves claiming the status of citizens who allow these early decades of the 19th century, which makes dred scott a terrible blow. >> they were not only claiming to be citizens. they were exercising the rights of citizens. many of them voted for ratification of the constitution. well before. it comes as quite a blow. >> a little bit later on, will
9:45 pm
be involving you in this. part of the series that makes it really interesting for us are the questions that are on your mind. there will be a lot of ways you can do. that you can send us a tweet. if you do, use the hashtag landmark cases. you can also be part of the facebook conversation on c-span's page. finally there will be phone lines where you can colin, and we will put these numbers on the screen periodically. we will be going to calls in about 15 more minutes so you can get in a few questions if you like. the important part of dred scott's case was the fact that with his master, he traveled into territories that had been declared free in the united states. we will learn a little bit about that time in his life. our cameras went on location to fort smelling, a historic site. today's located outside minnesota, where dred scott lived in free territory and married. let's watch. >> during the time you can
9:46 pm
imagine the soldiers, drilling, mustering muskets firing. fort snuggling is the place where dred and harriet scott met. personally, i like to envision harriet with standing outside over here. maybe dred was walking by and saw her. he decided he wanted to introduce himself to her. the thing i like about envisioning that, is that we continue to put dred and harriet and other enslaved people as people rather than objects. dred and harriet had a ceremony that was officiated by lawrence -- he was the fact that you read and harriet's marriage was officiated by this man, that is where. he did not find that happening. it truly makes this place significant and that regard. dread and harriet existing as enslaved people here on land, or slavery was not really
9:47 pm
recognized. i was actually one of the pieces of information that they used as a basis for their court case when they went and sued for their freedom in st. louis. this is the space that we speak about as being the tread and harriet -- we've refitted and outfitted the room. this room was their living quarters. it is interesting, because they're living quarters were located under the emerson space. there are master. his space is right above them. right up here. all of the noise of what it is that is happening upstairs -- they would be able to hear down here as well. we understand tread to be, what we may see as a personal valet or a man servant. he was the one who would tend to emerson's needs. maybe it was to shave him, or taking care of his horse. running errands. representing him in some sort
9:48 pm
of way. those were the duties we found that shred was possibly doing. harriet, anything from cooking, to sowing, the laundry, the whole game of all of that is what you would find harriet doing. >> kvetch this was about 1836 or so. ultimately, harriott's spot, they were living in this area. what is significant to know about that part of the world in that time period? >> when you are talking about 1830 you are talking about a period where the abolitionist movement started to grow and become more radicalized. you are talking about a period where slavery still existed and people had presumption of slavery and that hasn't changed. when dred and harriott meet each other, they are both slaves to their masters. if they fall in love, they get married. there is a sort of an ambiguity there. they both seem to recognize fully that they are enslaved that moment, and yet they are
9:49 pm
carrying on in some ways, as if they are free. so it is sort of the time of almost transition but not quite transition because as martha said earlier, the fugitive slave act of 1850 really is the point at which you see sectional tension begin to rise. 1830 is sort of the beginning of that. >> would it have been unusual for a white public official at that time to agree to perform a marriage ceremony between it dread and harriet? >> i don't think so. marriage goes two ways in this context. on the one hand, it is the affirmation of two individuals, tread and harriet, the beginning of a life together, making up the family. we know their story and their family continues for many decades. but it cuts two ways. marriage is also viewed by many slave holders as a mechanism of social control. perhaps a slave is less inclined for example, to run
9:50 pm
away if he or she is connected to a family union. if it is tied to other people. it is not a marriage that has legal right, which is to say, these two cannot now claim ownership or control -- they cannot inherit from one another or enjoy the other privileges of marriage. at the same time, we know they develop a bond that was deep and lasted for decades. >> dred scott -- you picked up the story with emerson. emerson was in the military. he traveled a lot. it was one of the reasons dred scott's was in so many different places. he also had many masters along the way. but that have been common for a slave? >> that seems a little less common for him given the cline of sleigh that he was. he was a servant. a personal servant. those kinds of relationships tend to be more enduring. i think it would be unusual to see that kind of person hired
9:51 pm
out and the way that he was subsequently hired out. the relationship was strong, obviously, between him and doctor anderson, after he and harriet had their first shot, the child was actually named after doctor emerson's wife, eliza. clearly, during -- dred scott is living a very different kind of life as a slave with dr. emerson. >> somewhere along the way, tread score offered to buy his freedom from dr. anderson. and for his wife. where would a slave have gotten the means to do that? >> it is a great question. by 1846, this household is settled back in st. louis. legal knowledge among and between slave peoples are circulating. many enslaved people are bringing freedom new suits, purchasing their own freedom. at the scotts learn a lot about their own circumstances and how to challenge it. at the same time, there is no
9:52 pm
formal mechanism for self purchase in a jurisdiction like missouri, and so to my ones freedom requires the consent and a court with one's owner, and as we know, irene emerson declines and leaves the scott snow alternative, it seems, but to file a lawsuit. >> where would they have gotten the knowledge and understanding of a filing a lawsuit, and with the process would be and what the money to do such a thing? >> the reality was that freedom suits in missouri were not that uncommon. there were 301 who recorded freedom suits in missouri in the 19th century. it was a fairly common practice. that sort of anti slavery bar, that lawyers were litigating these kinds of cases. they were not ideological cases in many instances. they were just doing sort of work like litigation. you could think of it as criminal defense work or public
9:53 pm
defense work, the kind of work that lawyers do, that not everybody does but it is part of the litigation experience. so, and as martha was saying, people are relatively sophisticated on the slavery questions. not everybody is in agreement and in support of slavery, so they are having real conversations about what sorts of opportunities people have to be free. certainly, harriott received some support from her reverend at the second african baptist church who is known to provide advice to the would be free men and how to file the sorts of lawsuits. >> donna, on twitter, asked, dred scott, did his journeys educate him along the way, causing him to get to the supreme court? do you think he had the opportunity to talk about people in different parts of the united states and in east territories? >> i think yes. i think it begins at fort smelling when dred and harriet are left alone. that is to say, not in the
9:54 pm
company of the emerson's. they are hired to another household at fort smelling. while they labor and their wages go to the emerson's, they enjoy a kind of autonomy that i think gives him the opportunity to speak to people. one of the amazing things for me about that episode is on the one hand, fort smelling is in minnesota. what would be today's minnesota near st. paul. it is terribly remote for people like harriott, who is from philadelphia, or even dred who is from st. louis. but on the other hand, it is an extraordinary crossroads, where traders, merchants, native people are passing through trading stories, trading information and i would not be surprised if that is where their legal education, if you will, begins and that rich millionaire in fort smelling. >> he takes it to the missouri
9:55 pm
state court. a originally files of state court and it is fairly typical cause of action. there really two elements to it because he claims number one that he is free. and second, that he is being falsely imprisoned. there is an assault component where you claim that you are being threatened and the second component is imprisonment. or you are being held against her will. that was the typical format for these sorts of cases. it is the kind of case that you know, it was almost boiler plate and then you would go to court and you would plea it out. one of the old rig system which is a little bit different than the way we litigate today but the first case ants on a technicality which i thought was interesting because he was able to re-fire. >> we will take you by video to the st. louis county courthouse where dread and harriet first sought legal address.
9:56 pm
pm >> i'd like to welcome you to st. louis is old courthouse. this is a place where treat and harriet scott came to try to find a path to freedom through the legal system of the time period. we are currently in one of the grander courtrooms that survived in st. louis is old courthouse. we know in both of the dred scott trials that were heard in this building, the same judge presided. he was the judge of the circuit court and st. louis at the time. he was known in st. louis as being somewhat favorable to these cases of enslaved persons who are suing in the courts to try to gain their freedom. it was a jury of 12 men. and all of these men would have been late. some of them may had been and probably were slaveowners. so, we have to think that when the scotts came here once more
9:57 pm
and 1850 for a second trial, and when the jury, having listened to the evidence, decided that they should be set free, that the evidence must have been very persuasive. it was one of actually, just a little over 300 cases that were heard in the st. louis courts about this same matter. enslaved persons trying to become free by petitioning the legal system. when the slaves came into the court, and we know that they were allowed to come into the court by law, sometimes people ask us that question, but this side of the room, traditionally is where the prosecution with set and this is where the slaves would have been. we are looking at the original petitions that dread and harriet scott made to the courts in 1846. trade and harriet had separate
9:58 pm
petitions initially, and they would later put together into just one case and board his name. an interesting thing from the law, the way the law was written at the time. it's specified some sort of abuse might have taken place. it was almost a formulaic thing where they would say that they had been beaten and bruised and abused by their enslaver. and, at the very bottom, are there signatures or marks. neither dread nor harriet apparently could read or write, and so, the person who drafted the petition would write their name and put his mark and then dred would put his cross or ex in that space, and the same with harriet. you could see she did the same over here. her mark. >> one of the places that you have on the road and st. louis, you can't go visit to learn more about the history of the country at that time and the
9:59 pm
dred scott case. we will show you a timeline of the legal challenge in the state of missouri. first, 1846 was when it filed for st. louis county court, which is what we just saw. a retried in 1850 in the same courtroom. then it went on to the missouri supreme court decided in 1852. then finally, 1854, it move to the first federal courts and st. louis. for both of you, that's a tough questions decided by the lower courts and state courts, what were the important aspects of the case for people to understand? >> the first part of it emphasizes the lower court cases. i'm not talking about martha driving in on the remaining pieces. the first trial where there is a technicality -- it is interesting to understand what the technicality was that caused dred scott to lose the first truck. there are three different lawsuits that were filed. one per dread, one for harriet, and the other for the two kids. the technicality was this. the claim that dred scott had
10:00 pm
made was that he had been fought sleet imprisoned and hired by the name of mr. russell. mr. wrestle comes and testifies, yes, i hired dred from this is emerson for a set of money. on a cross-examination that was revealed that he was not mr. wrestle who made the arrangements to hire dred scott, but his wife, mrs. russell. mrs. russell had not testified at trial. so mr. russell's testimony was struck out. no evidence showing that threat had been hired and treated as a sleep, so the case was dismissed. but the judge was sympathetic, as you saw on the video. so there was a retrial. at retrial, mr. emerson testified that he paid the money -- i'm sorry, mr. wrestle testified that he paid the money. mrs. russell testified that she made the arrangements and now, with the evidence closed, dred scott was able to prevail at the state court level. >> why did it go on to missouri
10:01 pm
supreme court? >> i think that takes us back to a fundamental question, which is, why 1846? what is happening that scotts wait as long as they did to get the freedom. i think there is a confluence of things. for me, the most powerful thing are those girls. part of what we know is that they had these two young daughters. something changes. throughout this litigation, the scotts keep the girls and hiding. my sense is always that they are prepared, if necessary, to defy a court order and sneak the girls out rather than let them rim be remained and snake enslaved -- they are terribly vulnerable as they grow up as young african american slave girls. there are vulnerable, not only to being separated from their parents, but for sexual assault. there is something going on here and it is seen.
10:02 pm
what happens is that they win. the second trial. the jury of white men and st. louis missouri find and declared them free people. it's extraordinary. that not unexpected. this sort of case -- has been heard hundreds of times before, and generally the rule of law and missouri is, that once and enslaved person has lived on free soil, that he or she becomes a free person, even when they return to the slave state of missouri. >> once free, always free. >> why does not end there? >> it is a great lesson and why people wait to bring freedom suits. because they are not a sure thing. they never are. but in this case, we have change in politics in the state of missouri of a high court that is increasingly interested in closing the door to these
10:03 pm
sorts of freedom suits. what we get, finally, at the high court of missouri, is a split decision. on the one hand, the majority of two that says, no, we are not obligated as the state of missouri, to honor the loss of what was the wisconsin territory or the state of illinois, where the scotts had been on free soil. we are not obligated to extend that kind of courtesy, and our laws dictate that they should be in essence, reinstated read sleeved. >> there is a scramble of who says, not so fast. we have decades of the president here. i, at least for the dissenting view, argue that we should follow precedent, and they should be free. >> gambles point was, i think as clear as a bell. he said circumstances may have changed, but our principles
10:04 pm
should not. >> and next part of tread scott story as we go to the ultimately the supreme court. but we four we do that, we will take your calls. we begin with a call from joe watching us from pittsburgh. jill, you are on the air. what is your question? >> i am interested in the two attorneys that the fended threat scott. montgomery blair which we know from d.c. and ross will field, who is from st. louis. >> i'm going to ask our guests to spend just a little time, because when we get to that part of the story will spend more. the montgomery blair, the more famous of the two. can you tell us anything? >> i want to point out quickly, montgomery blair is a marylander. a former slave holder who has a very different view of how dred scott should turn out. when we get to the supreme court, it is a contest. the maryland are against the marylander.
10:05 pm
>> next is kelly. >> thank you for the series. several questions. first of all, thanks specifically to our two guests. this is very interesting. i am a former retired attorney. last time i looked at red scott was in law school about 50 years ago. but my question is, this is really the worst-case the supreme court had decided. i think i would have said like plessy versus ferguson. because it continued longer -- also i don't know if any of you can answer this. i do not believe you are doing plessy in the series. or roe v. wade the fort of education. why aren't you doing plessy? >> a very simple answer to that. we had 12 weeks and thousands of cases. with the constitution center as our partners in this, really spent lots of time arguing which cases would be our
10:06 pm
landmark cases, knowing we could not do all. but already, we are thinking about next year, maybe more cases. what about plessy versus ferguson, perhaps -- >> and depends on your perspective and what you're talking about. in terms of impugning the reputation of the court. the call is absolutely right. plus either scissors ferguson was an atrocious decision. in terms of impact in the reputation of the court, i think dred scott did a great deal more damage to the reputation of the court in part, because i think the expectation of most peoples at the court was not going to be overtly political. not that these cases are not political at times, that it would not actually engage in politics. and what we see in dred scott is really the court reaching out and deciding a political question and signing it wrong. plus see versus first second ferguson -- when the next season comes around we'll talk about that because there's a lot to say about that decision as well.
10:07 pm
i would stand pat on my claim that really, dred scott is the most atrocious supreme court decision. >> martha, do you know the answer to this in general? mary says there was 300 suits filed a missouri. how many or at least what percentage of them were successful? >> that is a very good question. i do not know the answer. i should. i will say that there are some dozens of cases brought on the very same terms when the scotts when their case that are in fact successful and there is almost every reason to think -- >> one case in particular which was actually decided a couple years before threats scott came about. rachel versus walker. there was a female slave that was taken by an army officer into free territory, and the court held that when that officer took the slave to the free territory, that he forfeited that slave. there were clear questions on
10:08 pm
the books in missouri. it was not a long case. there were many cases like that. >> welcome to glenn watching us and michigan. you are up glenn. >> thank you all very much. my question is, there were a lot of european groups, italians, jews, irish, catholic and salon immigrating here at the time, and i was wondering, what exactly defines citizenship? i mean to the dred scott case, making it basically a skin color ethnic group thing, or was there some kind of other rules for what exactly was a citizenship back then? >> an important question. >> we get to the 64,000 dollar question on the u.s. constitution. it is nearly silent on the question of who is a citizen. there is a hint and qualifications for office like the president, that there must be something like a natural born citizen in the united states. there is certainly an
10:09 pm
acknowledgment in the constitution that one can become a naturalized citizen as is the case for many of the immigrants that you referred to. at the same time, there is an extraordinary hole if you will, in our understanding of citizenship in the 19th century. that turns precisely on the case of former slaves. they are no longer slaves. they are free people. that there is a spirited debate about whether or not they stand and shoes equivalent to those of white americans in this period. and it's got appears, and i say appears to close the door on that question. >> in that light, william hamilton on facebook rights, the problem with dred scott was it opened the way to bring and maintain slaves and free states. it is an important principle, he writes. you should not lose your rights by crossing the state border. but in the case of slavery, it creates serious problems. the fugitives play back already
10:10 pm
had caused huge issues. >> that is exactly right. part of what dred scott did -- the lower court decision, was to create a sort of bubble, a space in free territory, where slavery could exist. that was the base attention, whether that was permissible. missouri compromise suggested that that should not be possible, yet missouri law was predicted by the missouri supreme court to create that specific possibility. >> we will move on to the important part, the reason for this program, and that is, the federal court, specifically the supreme court -- once again, i want to show you the years within the petition to the supreme court and how long it took him to have his case finally argued and decided. we left in 1854, where it was decided by the st. louis federal court. in 1856 it was argued for the first time the supreme court, argued once again, a second argument and the supreme court
10:11 pm
of the same year. 1857, a decision was handed down. also, 1857, tread and harriet scott were freed. we will tell that story later on. he only lived another year and a half after that. he died in 1858. ultimately, from the first petition, st. louis county court, until the supreme court case, it was 11 years. is that typical today if you go to the supreme court? >> i mean, there are cases that to go on for decades today. but a freedom suturing should not have taken that long. it is remarkable. the fact that it was contested so thoroughly. we have to realize that by the time this case gets decided, dred scott is an old man. he is, as far as his value as a slave, he is of diminished value. he is sick. yet, there is a continuing fight over to ed scott and
10:12 pm
harriet. and their daughters. >> that is why there is a key -- one of the keys to the story is about eliza and lindsey, the scott's daughters. not only do they have a value as property on to their parents. they are precious. i think when we try and understand the lunch of itty -- not how long the suit takes, but the tenacious-ness that it takes to pursue it out of the state courts and into federal courts. we appreciate how keenly the scotts felt the states were. >> we now move to the part of the story where roger taney, the chief justice of the supreme court appointed by andrew jackson. we are going to learn more about his background and what he brought to the station, with the makeup of his -- was. like let's start with the
10:13 pm
video. we went to annapolis to learn more about taney's early career. >> it is through these doors that mr. taney would have walked when he was serving in the legislature in 1799. he served one term as a federalist. he came back in 1816 and served the term in the maryland senate until 1821. it was inside this room, now called the old senate chamber, where the marilyn senate met. in the mid 19 centuries, 1816, when taney was serving here, the members of congress with sit in a arc of desks facing the president of congress who would be seated at a desk on the president's -- a business of the senate at that time, taney was representing frederick county, would have been looking out for land interest in the county. this was the period within ten years after the war of 1812. there was still a lot of building of american
10:14 pm
governments at that time. foundational work was under way in the senate and across the hall in the house of delegates while he was serving hair he was still operating his law and practice at frederick. actually serving on the board of directors of the bank of frederick, which was incorporated during that time. after leaving the maryland senate he came back to service in the state and 1827 as attorney general. it was from that post that he left in 1831 to begin serving the federal government. >> martha, you started us on the story of roger taney. what else do we know about this man as we move to learned about how he ran this court and how he ultimately -- >> the interesting facts about being a supreme court justice in the period is that you are not excused from serving on trial courts as well. so taney writes the circuit as we say and goes back to his
10:15 pm
home state of maryland. back to baltimore regularly. he goes to sit on trials in that federal district court. and so he is on the one hand, still a meshed in this world of baltimore and this world for a free black community, he is a patriot to free african americans in that city. and he has been in washington thinking on a very different scale, about the status of slavery and the standing of african americans going forward. to understand roger b. taney, you have to understand the world. he is in some ways not quite a wreck loose but reserved, he takes his seat on the bench very seriously. he doesn't want to appear to be tainted by popular opinion or by politics. but he continues to be an
10:16 pm
active member of the bar in baltimore to proceed over proceedings there it is local catholic church he is a figurehead, he is much sought after, he's a meshed in this social world not simply in an ivory tower in washington. >> here is a very interesting fact about roger b. taney, in 1818 he freezes on slaves. >> he did. the ones he inherited before he became a judge. but there is something else about him, while he was a bit of a recluse, he wasn't necessarily afraid to stick out an ideological position. one case comes to mind that was a case decided in 1842 that was basically the fugitive slave clause. there is a slave that escaped pennsylvania and pennsylvania refused to return the slave to the captures. they had to decide the question
10:17 pm
of how to interpret that clause and what obligations it would impose on the state of pennsylvania. in terms of supporting slavery and returning the slave to his master. he didn't write that majority opinion, that was done by the chief justice. they're the court said, yes we have to return the slave it is part of our constitutional obligation. we will be forced by the states to assist and return the slave. he went further though. he argued that the assistant should be more substantial that state should have an obligation to have their local thirties deputized by federal marshals to assist with the delivering of slaves. he was really pushing the pro slavery nationalists position. this is years before the dred scott comes around. i'm >> going to take to calls and i would like to show you the makeup of his court. and how the nine judges were
10:18 pm
allocated since this is all about sectionalism at this time. so you know what type of court was receiving the case of dred scott. let's listen to harry who is coming from maryland. >> hi, how are you? >> we are great thank you. >> quick question, there were a lot of movements from that time and in some of the slave states for abolition's, i think the virginia was in there and they had an election on that. i'm not sure of the legislator exactly. it was closer than you would think. the question i have, how much weight did this really have ultimately to the civil war? and what could have been avoided if they've handled it differently? >> it is a great question. it is one of the things, one of the great overstatements about
10:19 pm
dred scott, is the claim that it is the case that gives us the civil war. as chris said, tension is already very high by the time we get to 1857. probably we would describe it the rising of that tension to the mid 18 fifties to situation in kansas and the debate over whether or not kansas will be admitted as a slave state in the mid 18 fifties. that is probably much closer helping us understand the breaking of sectional ties in the civil war and four dred scott. it is great propaganda for political leaders who want to demonstrate or wave the threat of the slave boxy in front of the nation. but i'm not sure that the court decision, which was not in fact
10:20 pm
enforced to any significant degree. i'm not sure the decision itself had the force of giving us the civil war. >> here the names of the nine justices on the supreme court. roger tani is the chief, james wayne of georgia, tennessee, peter v. daniel virginia, joseph campbell of alabama, five of the nine were there. the northerners, john mclain of ohio, samuel nelson of new york, robert crier of pennsylvania and benjamin curtis of massachusetts. going into this, it logically it was a five four decision. the odds were stacked against dred scott. >> the portrait is even worse than that, seven out of the nine who are democrats. only two wigs. of the five southerners that you see there are also the five
10:21 pm
that came from a slave only families. so you're really looking at serious odds against dred scott. >> and that is ultimately the vote on the case. the two northerners who are wigs voted with dred scott. that is john mclain and benjamin curtis. we have some video of the old supreme court chamber the u.s. capital, which is where this case was argued. we are going to show you that. as we do, let's set the stage for the court case being heard. what was it like the first time around? >> i think that in some sense it is a case that is much anticipated by the time it reaches the court. roger b. taney this is eager to take on these questions and dred scott provides him, his only opportunity in this critical period, not only to impact the jurisprudence but in
10:22 pm
effect to have a role in the political questions that are set to drench the nation. >> i agree. you have ross will field who is dred scott's lawyer who brings this federal case to being. now you have the superstar montgomery blair stepping in representing the sandford. you have gyre from st. louis. >> also of maryland. and a good friends and a running mate with we roger b. taney. you have the makings of an interesting case that is going to be argued before the court. >> so how did dred scott find these superstar attorneys to represent him? >> you have the blow family that is providing support. >> the original? owners >> the descendants of blow are now abolitionists.
10:23 pm
charlotte blow has married the editor of an abolitionist newspaper. one of the sons becomes a u.s. congressman, the other daughter mary is a u.s. senator. they get together and provide the financial security to support the litigation. another connection which i haven't fully validated is that montgomery blair has a brother in missouri. with frank, he's a conservative unionist. it is possible that there is a connection there as well that would explain why montgomery blair gets involved with this case. for the second round of arguments to argue the validity. >> and who is benjamin curtis? >> he's the justice on the court. >> george curtis. justice curtis is brother. >> the brother of a sitting justice argued before the court?
10:24 pm
could you do that today? or would that be a conflict? >> that would be a conflict. that wouldn't occur. >> was he paid for his service or was this pro bono? >> blair was not paid and neither was curtis but, by the time we are approaching the u.s. supreme court these are men that are taking this case because their reputations call for it. and it would be a mistake to characterize it by as hired guns. they are very fancy hired guns. which is to say that there's a great deal of prestige with arguing these cases. blair never even meets the scott family. he simply takes the case in washington and argues it there. >> i should ask, was up dred scott in the courtroom when the case was argued? >> they were in st. louis. they are in formal custody of
10:25 pm
the court. the sheriff. and they are hired out in labor -ing and their daughters are in hiding. >> and this case is important -- actually i want to ask one question from twitter. one of our callers said would you talk about tani's role as a catholic on the court at a time when catholics were unheard of a national politics? >> that is a great question because roger b. taney he does not come out of the religious communities that we would associate with a critique of slavery. so he doesn't come out of that tradition even as he is a colonization. he doesn't have a critique of slavery that we associate with quaker's and some bat us and baptist sex in this period. just remember that baltimore is the archdiocese of the catholic church, if one were to be a
10:26 pm
catholic in the mid 19th century, baltimore's where you'd want to do it. so he serves an extraordinary kind of cultural power through his association with the catholic church in a city like baltimore. even as he is perceived as a minority in other parts of the country. >> by the time the case got to the supreme court the docket with was dred scott v sandford. who was sandford? >> he is mrs. emerson's brother. at this point his -- mrs. emerson is tiring of the litigation. she transfers title, the record is fairly clear that she transfers title -- >> it's a little bit less than. clare >> yet's it's somewhat clear that she transfers title. he is a businessman but he has ties to st. louis. one of those ties incidentally
10:27 pm
is by marriage. his earlier wife whose now deceased was the daughter of the largest slave owner in st. louis. that is one of the reasons that it might explain why the litigation persisted under sanford's lame for so long. in part because he was protecting his family's business interest by ensuring belong javid e. of slavery. >> you will see what we have the picture of sandford, that was in fact the correct spelling, it was recorded incorrectly and throughout history. it is misspelt in the case. that is a historical side note. who argued for him? >> before the u.s. supreme court, we have johnson who is, who brings an extraordinary reputation with him.
10:28 pm
he is a friend and an intellectual ally to roger b. taney. and he and gyre are going to argue many of the points that we see and that are made by roger b. taney in his final opinion in. i would like to point out that they know for well that roger b. taney are not a secret by this time. in many ways, i think they feed the chief justice the type of arguments that they know he's receptive to. it is not the first time that he has made or offered up the view that no black person can be a citizen. >> next question is from larry. hi larry you are. on >> i want to know the scotts lived as fried persons during
10:29 pm
the litigation period. just what their status was with during that period of time? >> they are slaves. there are enslaved people during this period. it is not unusual in a city like st. louis, even absent the ongoing freedom suit, it is not unusual for and slaved people to be hired out, seasonally or four-year long contracts. owners took advantage of enslaved peoples labor in many ways. sometimes using them in their own households or as you have heard the emerson's have no need for the labor of the scotts, but they look forward to or anticipates the income that is generated by their labor. one of the remarkable twists in this story is that the scotts earned some say as much as 1000
10:30 pm
dollars during the course of the litigation. that fund is held and finally turned over to the family when the scotts received their freedom. >> that's right. irene mary's chafee, she finally relented at the end of litigation, having one and is willing to transfer title to the blow family but only on the condition that she can be given those proceeds. i read it was about 750 dollars. but she did request the money. that says something about her. >> i don't know what the exact amount. is >> you are on the air. >> hello, i just want to say that during a stay at fort selling, scott married in a civil ceremony by her own owner
10:31 pm
who is a justice of the peace. the ceremony was a necessary as a slave marriages had no recognition of law, also in 1837 emerson -- and when emmerson left he left his wife there and relieved their services out for profit and in doing that in a free state he was effectively bringing the institution of slavery to a free state which was a direct violation. >> can you tell me how you know so much about this case? >> oh, i am taking u.s. history. >> you read ahead of the text? that is great. what year of school are you in? >> tenth grade. >> thank you so much for being part of our program. >> that was wonderful. great questions and comments. anything else to add?
10:32 pm
>> those were the big questions. whether creating that bubble of slavery in free territory violated federal law. that was the question that was wrestled with by the court. but justice tony says in effect that know the federal law that created that free territory was unconstitutional >> there were essentially for questions and for aspects of this case. the first was, was plea and abatement. subject to a review. put that into terms that people can understand. >> the question is whether or not this is an appeal issue. >> question number two, susan quotes, could the nego of the african state be a citizen? >> absolutely, the specific question is whether, for the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, in a federal court, diversity being a
10:33 pm
circumstance in which the citizen of one state and the citizen of another state, when that happens, who has actions of the federal courts, but you have to be a citizen of the state and the question is whether or not the scotts our citizens of the state of missouri. >> question number three of the four. did congress have the power to enact the missouri compromise and prohibit slavery in the territories. the stance in the question of the traditional review. >> this is the heart of the question. congress has authority to regulate in the territories. that much is clear under the constitution. the question is, does this sort of regulation that congress is empowered to do include regulation of property? property such as slaves? that is where the issue comes up. because you also have the right to own property. so it is unclear whether congregates can aggregate that right specifically with respect to slavery -- >> not to get to balked down, at one point, the court was
10:34 pm
really not prepared to rule on the missouri compromise aspect. it we're going to issue and our decision. why did they decide to take this very big one which would have national consequences? >> part of it had to do with the fact that you had two justices announcing that they were going to the scent. and their dissent, they were not only going to declare that dred scott should be free. but they were also going to say that in their view the missouri compromise was constitutional even know there were some doubts as to whether or not it was in fact constitutional they argue that they announced this before the case was heard. prior before two with the case was decided imagine how they were gonna come on the case you have two justices that they were gonna come out strong and at the missouri compromises valid. is this the recent case was very? heard >> the other thing that is going on behind the scenes
10:35 pm
is that president buchanan is reaching out and -- >> president elect buchanan? >> yes. he is preparing for his own inaugural and he wants to know what the outcome is going to be. he's leaning on these justices. again today this is something that we would say is really out of bounds, it probably was out of bounds during that time. but part of the way that we can understand how the courts mind turns is this political pressure that is going on behind the scenes. >> their fourth aspect of the case is, did missouri allow scotts reversion to slavery after he had lived in illinois? those were the four legal questions for the courts. number two and number three where the most significant. the 1856 election, and the beginning and the rise of the
10:36 pm
wig party and also president buchanan wanting to be able to make political hay of this. how did that election impact the outcome of this case? >> one thing i want to insert is that the first hearing occurs in february of 1856, the election is in the fall. there is a question as to whether or not the supreme court to decide the case before the election and influence the election. it was that contentious that they did not want to throw the election, so they announced that they would have a second round that would occur in december which would be after the election. he was at that point that we had president buchanan who started to have a conversation with chief justice taney of what the outcome should be. >> can you tell me what the decision is going to be? or did he try to influence the decision? what was his role in this? >> it was about timing more than anything else. but later he started to talk more substantively about the
10:37 pm
nature of the decision should be. >> here's something we would find outrageous today, i read that before his swearing in he wanted to announce the outcome of the case for his inaugural address. >> he's deeply invested about congress is authority and the question about, to what degree into what terms should slavery be able to continue and spread into federal territories. he doesn't quite take that thunder, we can imagine chief justice taney own sense of propriety over the court and over what in the 19th century is its own dramatic seem. which is the reading of these opinions from the bench of the supreme court lasting many hours. there is an important theater, and an important status that comes with the court in owning
10:38 pm
its own process in opinion. >> it is important to note that the chief justice resisted the pressure from president elect buchanan to announce decision before his inaugural so he could talk about that. but they announced it just after. >> that inaugural address does say something. the president elect say that he expects there will be a decision that will resolve this question in a way that is consistent with what he had been running on, which was a more pro slavery nationalist agenda. he didn't telegraph the outcome which signal to a lot of historians after the fact that he did no. he knew the outcome of the decision at the time. >> and we cannot imagine that happening at any point since, is there any conversations today that might happen between presidents and members of the court that they appointed to find out what might be going on. or is that a real division between the two branches of government? >> people in washington talk.
10:39 pm
but i imagine that this is the kind of thing where folks take their jobs very seriously. these are kind of conversations that i wouldn't expect that kind of influence from the white house on the supreme court decision. especially with the chief justice of the court. >> on the other hand if we fast forward to the 20th century in the roosevelt area and the new deal era, there is another moment when we don't exactly tell the story of the president's picking up the phone, but he has a telegraph quite clearly to the court of what is on his mind and what he's prepared to do if the court doesn't begin to turn its views to support his policy shifts. >> we are also going to learn about the steel cases where harry truman was perhaps tipped off incorrectly about the outcome of his case and so it continues to some degree. maybe not today but throughout
10:40 pm
history there are more instances of the court on a pointy's overtly or covertly discussing. next up we are going to hear some excerpts from the decision, before that let's hear from roberta washing us from washington d.c.. >> good evening, i just want to commend c-span for putting on this wonderful series. i think it is very educational. i recommend everyone watching. a quick question, my first question is, is the dred scott case of -- and my second is last month governor mike huckabee while defending kentucky clerk refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex marriages, he said, the dred scott case is still on the land even though nobody follows it. the second question is, is that true? is that dred scott still the
10:41 pm
law of the land? >> no it is not. it was overruled by the 14th amendment ratification. and a whole host of civil rights legislation. the interesting question though and i'd like to thank the color for it, yes, i think that dred scott majority opinion does expresses certain amount of originalism. it is not hard textualist, it is soft originalism. you have the justice and imagining what the framers must of thought. if you read's chief justice taney opinion he talks a lot about the framers what they are thinking during the declaration of independence, what they were thinking when the constitution was decided, he called the mid high literary accomplishment, at no point did they believe that blacks would be citizens in the united states. he said that these were not his views but the views of the framers. this is a classic interest of
10:42 pm
soft originalism. >> between the first and second hearings the public attention grew enormously. for the second set the courtroom was packed with people, members of the media, abolitionists, states'rights and their supporters. they were also interested in the outcome. what it was finally handed down many people were urgently wanting to hear the outcome. but this was red, it was a voluminous decision, nine different opinions issued. people are still trying to dissect the meaning of it. seven to vote. can you give us a scene setter of what this must of been like? >> part of what is extraordinary is that it comes at a moment in which the technology of newspaper recording have improved.
10:43 pm
and so it is possible in ways to get the news out of washington to baltimore, to st. louis, to new york with great efficiency. when we look back at the period newspapers, we see how local papers like the baltimore sun are digesting these decisions, but look pointing for readers. precisely because not only is washington waiting but the rest of the country is eager to know the courts reasoning and the word gets out very quickly. there is a lot of partisanship in newspapers. so in a paper like the son, there is a great amount of booster is them four roger b. taney and for his views. but very quickly americans have the news of the decision and are able to judge for themselves what the court has done.
10:44 pm
the decision is 254 pages. here's a quick exit. here is some of what chief justice taney who wrote the opinion and read it, on the question of citizenship, the legislation and histories of the times and the language used in that declaration of independence show, that either the class of persons who have been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, where then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument. talking about our founding documents. on the missouri compromise here are some of his language, the act of congress which prohibited as a citizen from holding an opening property of this kind in the territory of the united states north of that line there and mentioned is not warranted by the constitution and is therefore avoid. striped them down.
10:45 pm
help us understand the implications of these two parts of his opinion. >> the first part on the citizenship, it is a dramatic statement on his part. this was not a new idea for chief justice taney but to say that the declaration of independence didn't contemplate blacks as citizens, to say that under the constitution they were never thought to be part of the relevant community, and he uses the word community elsewhere in a very powerful way, that is a dramatic claim to make. as you know justice curtis rates in his dissenting opinion, and quite persuasively, that in five out of 13 states you had blacks exercising the rights as citizens. many had voted on the ratification on the constitution. what you see chief justice taney in the words of frederick
10:46 pm
douglas is making a brazen mistake in history. that was particular league calling and shocking to generous, the public and even justice curtis. >> and on this point i would say, roger b. taney, he knows full well that in his home state of maryland that african americans voted at the end of the 18th century in the air of the constitution's ratification. he knows that even as he tells a different story. >> so he twists history? he twist the law? >> he tells a story that suits his conclusion. but it is not one that even he could ultimately defend. >> the constitution is tweeting along with us. they say that to the most fierce descent come from dred scott. two of the dissenting justices read their dissent over two days. one of the to resign from that
10:47 pm
court in protest over this. >> a very short term in the court. he was very upset. he read his opinion and it is not a typical dissent, it is angry. you get the sense that he is saying more than i disagree with the majority. he's saying more than i think you are wrong. factually, look at the record, look at all of the data that montgomery blair has put forward. look at the arguments and i have put forward. it is not just that. justice curtis views chief justice taney as moving forward a political agenda. that strikes his core and he can't stomach that. >> for a last 15 minutes, the important legacy of this case. the reaction to this court's decision was considered explosive on both sides of this. soon thereafter the famous lincoln douglas campaign in illinois, we're almost all
10:48 pm
argued over the dred scott case. i will have you tell the rise and dissent of the whigs. >> before that i do want to say something that happened during the course of those debates that is important. you have lincoln who is now in the position to say something that is new in public discourse on slavery and that is that it is evil. he can now take the moral high ground. that gives him a new standing. he argues with douglas on this point. he says, just because i don't want a woman to be a slave doesn't also want her to be my wife. she can be left alone. he is beginning to change the discourse a little bit. he's suggesting two things, one that he believes slavery is morally evil and that he is hedging a bit on the citizenship question. he is suggesting that the conservative unionist are right. emancipation doesn't necessarily mean equal citizenship. >> what about dred and harriet
10:49 pm
scott? what happened to them next? >> we know that this -- the story ends ultimately with them winning their freedom, not with the way of a court suit but by way of their long-standing relationships with the blow family. ultimately, emerson the family will feed their property interests to the scott's back to the blows. they will take their 1000 dollars and compensation for giving up their property interest in the scotts. and the family will settle back into life as free people. and it's in the city of st. louis. dred becomes a minor celebrity. he resists enticements, some want him to go on the speaker
10:50 pm
circuits, the cases that is that important he is become a household name. someone who might be very useful for the on going anti slavery work in the united states. they resist that. he exception appointment as a door man in a hotel in st. louis. and harriet goes back to the work that she is always done, but this time she is able to work and control her own wages. they continue to raise their girls. they are sought after from time to time by curious journalists. we are grateful to some of them because the photographs we have of the scotts are result from curious and persistent journalist who brings them to a photo studio to have the portraits taken. for me one of the most poignant encounters with harriet scott
10:51 pm
and a journalist comes as dred is ailing. he will die within 18 months of this decision. and she tells the reporter in essence, just leave the old man alone. leave him at peace. right? part of what we wanted is just to be out of the limelight. away from the strife. and to live our lives as a private family. >> -- if you go to that parts of the country to learn more about this, you will find out that the great great granddaughter of the scotts is involved in preserving their history. you're going to meet her next in this video. >> we are standing in a cemetery at dred scott's final resting place. he was originally buried in the different cemetery, he was buried there in 1858, taylor blow who freed him decided that
10:52 pm
he did not want his friend stay on marked and unknown. he moved him here and he bought three plots so that tread could be properly buried, meaning that a black person could not be buried next to a white person. so the two plots next to him guarantee that. his wife died 18 years later, she is not buried here but in greenwood cemetery. greenwood was only two years old when harriott died in 1876. a brand-new cemetery primarily for african americans. it was an honor for her to be there and that is where she decides to reside. prior to that, aid epitaph was placed here. this epitaph on is her as a cope latent of the dred scott decision, a mother and a patriot. >> what happened to roger b.
10:53 pm
taney. let's listen to a clip. it is talking about the rest of chief justice taney life after this momentous decision. >> roger b. taney it's a constitutional tragedy, he was viewed as being moderates when it came to balance between state and federal power. and was well thought of until dred scott. the drama of how it tarnished his -- it shows tani with a sad eyes. it's reflecting on the tragedy of this decision. it shows us how important a single case can be, by the end of his career he was reduced to wandering the streets of washington and personally handing out copies of the decision and checking lincoln's power to suspend heaviest corpus. he printed himself.
10:54 pm
>> one thing to talk about with roger b. taney and his memory, today he continues to be controversial. if you go to the state house there's a statue of him at the entrance to the state house, there is a debate going on a maryland going on about if it should be removed. we found over the weekend news from frederick, maryland in the paper, that the statue that they had outside frederick city hall over the weekend was vandalized with red paint being put on it. what are your thoughts about this long legacy and how he is viewed in american society? >> this is part of, this really takes us back to dred scott. it is not only in the 21st century that his memory is controversial. charles sumner, after his death, in 1864 commits himself to defeating any attempt to
10:55 pm
appropriate funds that would provides for the bust of tani to be placed in the u.s. supreme court. some near fights time and again in congress. today, these questions are of course cloaked in 21st century terms, i movement called black lives matter. controversy over the flying of the confederate flake, and roger b. taney image and likeness is once again said by some to symbolize or glorify a past that should not be honored in this public way. the state house in maryland we have dueling monuments if you will. in 1996 we get thurgood marshall. and now the two of maryland's
10:56 pm
great supreme court justices, they are side by side, but clearly somebody over the weekend we had a different idea. and how to publicly enact their critique of him. >> we have about ten minutes left. what should roger b. taney legacy be. >> he doesn't have a choice in the matter. after dred scott he has tied himself to this pro slippery nationalist movement. he's done it so tightly that movement dies with the confederacy. he is forever linked with that. roger b. taney engaged in fairly dishonest representations of history at the highest levels of government, highest level of the court. that cannot be undone. he is ruins the reputation during the court during that period by signaling that the
10:57 pm
audacity that he and the rest of the justices could decide the most volatile political question and end up on the wrong side of history. i have a portrait that is similar to the one that you showed the viewers earlier, it is when i show my students all the time, mainly because it does really demonstrate how much of awaits the dred scott wade on this man. >> a message on facebook, a very makeup of the constitution -- kick the slavery decision down the road until the issue finally boiled over. do we agree? >> slavery is in the constitution at its inception and provisions like that three fifths law, the fugitive slave clause, the ban on interference with international slave trade. so yes. as president obama put it, are
10:58 pm
original sin embodied in the constitution. there is no question that 19 century americans fight again and again and in dred scott, the profound moral, political and also legal dilemma that is slavery. >> we told you that justice curtis who is one of the dissenting justices resigned from the court. gregory from twitter tells us that the other dissenting justices john mclain was a leading presidential candidate for the republican party in 1856. whatever collars earlier went on to discuss montgomery blair who went on to serve in lincoln's kept it. let us hear from four still maryland. >> hi. i just have a question. in what ways has the dred scott decision influenced how the
10:59 pm
supreme court rules today? thank you. >> is there an influence on how it rules today? >> absolutely. in some ways dred scott is the ultimate anti precedent. it is a lesson in terms of what you should not do as a court. what kind of mistake she should try to avoid. but at the same time, you've probably noticed that the supreme court has to decide difficult questions from time to time, whether it is game marriage, partial abortion, these are difficult cases. many of them are political questions or have a political leading. but the courts knows to be very careful and cautious and how it proceeds in dealing with those difficult cases. obamacare is another one. the affordable care act. these are all very challenging and politically charged in the court knows it can only do so much in that regard or risks
11:00 pm
making the same mistakes that justice tani made. >> our final clip of the program. let's watch. >> this case is not to try the politics. don't try to politics. there is a theory that what roger b. taney is trying to avoid the civil war. his friends in congress have been telling him that if you can get this thing decided once and for all by an institution with the person prestige of the supreme court, people will accept it and will bring peace to the nation. he believed that. perhaps. if he was being political. and what to me it suggests is, don't be political, for two good reasons. one it is wrong. to, the whole point of this institution that hamilton setup was to have a group of people that worked politicians who would be deciding this. if you want to politicians to
11:01 pm
decide it give it to congress. but third, just as important is that of judges are going to decide things on a political basis, remember that they are terrible politicians. there isn't one that i've ever seen that was good at it. if you want to say that there are good politicians, they are not judges. they've life in politics. if roger b. taney was political, he's probably the worst politician you ever saw because he brought about the exact opposite of the objective that he was trying for. if he wanted a peaceful nation, if anything, he helped produce a war. >> did set roger b. taney and dred scott produce a war? >> that can be overstated, but here's what we do know, we know that justice forcefully rejected the idea of black citizenship. he did that unapologetically.
11:02 pm
that enraged people who are abolitionists, enrage the supporters of free blacks. the succession us were emboldened by this decision. the ones that wanted to succeed wanted to push harder and were emboldened. it raise the temperature of politics. but we also know that created the preconditions that were necessary to establish conclusively black citizenship. didn't bring about a civil war? no, there are other contributing factors. but it elevated the temperature and was a contributing factor and gave us the preconditions for equal citizenship. >> i'm going to take a last call and then we will get closing comments on the significance of this case and what people should think about it. let's hear from david. you are. on >> the home of frederick douglas. i have a book cult --
11:03 pm
is that book still relevant? or there are more up to the books that you would recommend? >> just today i tweeted that i was really reading fair and bakr. it continues to be a masterful treatment. there are questions and among those are these much more human dimensions of the case, the story of the scott family was not one that fair and bakr really told in any particular detail. we know more about that today. i would say that still, that is a book that we go back to. >> it is an excellent test. it captures the politics. and to continue to write elsewhere, we have an essay in a book about the dred scott
11:04 pm
decision. that is available as well. look at that book and also look for anything else the man has written, he made a significant contribution to dred scott. >> i do want to tell you about one guide to the series, we are selling it at cost. it is landmark cases, the 12 cases that are in the series, the case descriptions are by veteran supreme court reporter tony moral. and you can get a capsule summary of each of the cases. go to our website at sea spot -- you'll see more of the video that you can see tonight. >> if you want to take a deeper here's how you feel it. let's close, what should people think about this case after spending 90 minutes listening to the summary? >> i think there are two things, one is, we do not have to look
11:05 pm
backwards to appreciates what a failure dred scott was. roger b. taney new this, he pence what was called a secret opinion. he writes a second dreads fought decision hoping that another case will come and he can clarify his position and that he can make good. the case might not have given us the civil war, but it required a constitutional revolution. it's set in place conversation for black citizenship. and it was a civil war to give us a 13 14th amendments. whatever the course of history that revolution was necessary for the nation to go forward. >> that is it for our discussion hundred scott. thank you both for being here. thank you for you at home for all of your questions and for watching. we will be that the ex weaken a
11:06 pm
third and a landmark cases.
11:07 pm
11:08 pm
11:09 pm
>> on lectures and history, gettysburg college professor allen guelzo teaches a class on abraham lincoln, his views on slavery, and the dred scott supreme court decision. his class is about 50 minutes. >> welcome once again to civil war era studies 205, production to the american civil war era.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on