Thread: Life This Day in History
View Single Post
Old 03-06-2009, 11:44 AM   #218
Amnorix Amnorix is online now
In BB I trust
 
Amnorix's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2003
Location: Boston, Mass.
Casino cash: $29908
March 6.

1836. After a 13 day siege by 3,000 Mexican soldiers, the 187 men defending the Alamo are defeated and the fort captured. The few men defending the fort who were not killed in the battle are executed.

1857. Southern sympathizer Chief Justice Taney of the United States Supreme Court hands down the Court's decision in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. The case is an immediate sensation, heightening tensions between North and South, and helping to lead to the American Civil War.

CJ Taney, in a woefully misguided attempt to end all dispute regarding the slavery issue that had vexed American politics for over 50 years, handed down an expansive decision that sought to resolve the entire issue. Dred Scott ruled that African Americans that were imported into the United States and their descendants -- whether or not slaves -- were chattel and could never be citizens of the country.

The background of the case was this -- Dred Scott was the slave to a certain doctor, who traveled extensively on business. Among his travels, the doctor went to Northern states that prohibited slavery, including Illinois, and spent time at various forts and other locations in Federal terrotories that prohibited slavery under the Missouri Compromise. After several years of this, and the death of the doctor, Dred Scott sued to be freed, claiming that the time spent in those locations had effectively rendered him a free person under the law.

The Supreme Court ruled against Scott, including such memorable bits of overindulgence as:

Quote:
According to the Court, the drafters of the Constitution had viewed all African-Americans as

"beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
As part of the ruling, the Court declared that the Missouri Compromise was Unconstitutional and unenforceable. This was only the second act the Court declared Unconstitutional in its young history -- the first being the famous case of Marbury versus Madison in 1803.

The ruling was considered the latest in a strong push by slavery adherents to extend slavery. Taney's efforts to end the slavery debate had the opposite result -- heightening anti-slavery causes in the North and splitting political parties along geographic/factional lines and splitting the Democratic Party in particular, paving the way for Abraham Lincoln's victory.

The decision had another unintended effect -- the very serious fear that the Supreme Court would next declare, as soon as it had a reasonable opportunity to do so, that no state could declare slavery illegal within its borders. This seriously impacted many Northerners who had been content to let the South have its "peculiar institution" while the North remained slave free. This issue was touched upon in Lincoln's famous "House Divided" speech:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
"Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits. ...We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State."
Dred Scott is generally considered, by far, the worst decision the Supreme Court has ever made. Instead of resolving the issue of slavery, it exacerbated tensions over the issue, and was a leading cause of the Civil War.

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney:

__________________
"I love signature blocks on the Internet. I get to put whatever the hell I want in quotes, pick a pretend author, and bang, it's like he really said it." George Washington
Posts: 40,209
Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.Amnorix is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote