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Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History

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Opinions of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case.

Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican]

(7 March 1857)

WASHINGTON, March 6.

Chief Justice Taney delivered to-day the opinion of the U. S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case. The points are that Scott is not a citizen; that he was not manumitted by being taken by his master when a slave into the then Territory of Illinois, and that the Missouri Compromise was an act unconstitutionally passed by Congress.

Justice Nelson, of New York, dissented. Five Judges, Taney, Campbell, Catron, Wayne, and Daniel, concur on the constitutional point against the Missouri Compromise. Nelson and Grier dodge by adopting the Missouri decisions for their justification in joining the majority. McLean and Curtis meet the issue squarely and sustain the jurisdiction of the Court, with the constitutionality of the Compromises.

It is no novelty to find the Supreme Court following the lead of the Slavery Extension party, to which most of its members belong. Five of the Judges are slaveholders, and two of the other four owe their appointments to their facile ingenuity in making State laws bend to Federal demands in behalf of "the Southern institution."

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