tv Lincoln Slavery and the Dred Scott Case CSPAN April 23, 2017 12:00am-1:21am EDT
but all over our country. this is a moment of national importance any cause for celebration. [applause] >> watch the entire ceremony sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on american history tv only on c-span3. >> on "lectures in history," gettysburg college professor allen guelzo teaches a class on abraham lincoln, his views on slavery, and the dred scott supreme court decision. he describes lincoln's upbringing and career path that led him to debates with stephen douglas during the 1858 u.s. senate race where one of the main topics was slavery. professor guelzo talks about how the dred scott case served to polarize political views on whether new state admitted to the union would allow slavery.
his class is about 50 minutes. allen guelzo: welcome once again to civil war era studies 205, introduction to the american civil war era. we are now in our third week in this course and my what ground we have covered thus far. we have more to cover because we are coming up to the 1850's now. we are talking about the crises of the 1850's that really begin with the compromise of 1850 that moved into the kansas-nebraska act of 1854, and we are going to see still more earthquakes occurring. but as we do this, we have a character that we have to meet who is going to play a central role in this entire course, and that is abraham lincoln. we touched very briefly in our last session by way of introduction of lincoln, and just to go through some of the
details once again, abraham lincoln is born in 1809, born the 12th of february. his parents are thomas and nancy hanks lincoln, and lincoln himself is born in hodginsville, kentucky in a log cabin quite literally. in 1818, his parents uproot from kentucky and move northwards across the ohio river into southern indiana. that is where lincoln grows up. alas, that is also where lincoln's mother dies. lincoln's father goes back to kentucky, remarries, and lincoln now has a stepmother, sarah bush johnston. and what is almost an inversion of the old hansel and gretel story of the wicked stepmother is actually something of the reverse for abraham lincoln, because sarah bush johnston
really becomes his mother fully as much as a mother could be. she and her stepson abraham, they were copacetic, something that cannot be said about lincoln's relationship with his father, thomas. with the relationship being a good deal more tense. lincoln would once described his father as a man who could bunglingly sign his own name. they are two different quantities very so different that when thomas lincoln once again picks up the family and moves westward across the wabash river to illinois, at that point young abraham, having turned 21, decides he is going to strike out on his own. and the home that he strikes out upon has very little in common with thomas lincoln.
he was content being a farmer, a jacksonian. the young abraham lincoln has other dreams. he has no use whatsoever for the agrarian life. he goes into some short-lived business in new salem, not that it succeeds, not that it prospers, but he keeps trying out until finally he gets himself elected to the illinois state legislature in 1834, and he will serve four terms in the legislature. he is a whig, and one almost wants to say that he is a whig's whig, because his entire attitude in contrast with andrew jackson, what abraham lincoln embraces is the entire whig
ethos of self transformation. henry clay will be for lincoln what lincoln called his beau-ideal of a statesman, and he is much more suspicious and what he has to say about andrew jackson. it is not entirely a matter of applause. so the words we looked at last time where lincoln is talking about how the dinners in the world labors for a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors and then at length hires a new beginner to help him, this is his free labor. that is it. that is the whiggish system of self transformation, self-improvement, free labor. the just and generous system that opens the way to all, gives hope to all and improvement of condition to all.
if one continued in condition of higher labor, not a fault of the system, but because of a dependent nature which returns it or in providence folly or similar misfortune, there is -- and this is lincoln affirming not only principles of free labor and whiggish self transformation, but this is also the way lincoln draws his contrast with slavery. there is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us, or at least there is not in illinois. remember james henry hammond defending slavery on the grounds that every society requires a mud sill class to perform all of the mud sill duties, and washington said hammond was a genius of the south that it had a specific group of people that would perform the mud sill
duties and nothing but for the entirety of their lives, which were black slaves. by contrast, lincoln says there is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us. there is no mud sill class. 25 years ago, i was a hired laborer. i was one of those mud sill, but the hired labor of yesterday you labors on his own account and will hire local for labor tomorrow. advancement, improvement in condition is the order of things in a society of equals. of course improvement and advancement in condition are exactly the things that slaves did not aspire to and which james henry hammond would be very disturbed to find a mud sill class aspiring to.
people are surprised when they see this image. this is the first photograph of abraham lincoln. it does not quite look like the guy we meet on the five dollar bill. it is a gregariotype taken in 1846, and lincoln does not look like somebody fresh off his father's farm. by 1846, he wasn't. he goes off to the legislature in 1834. he also carries with him the desire for advancement and the way to advancement for lincoln is to study law. and so he becomes a lawyer, apprenticing himself more or
less as a junior partner to a prominent kentucky lawyer in springfield, illinois named john todd stewart who he had met during demolition services rendered during the black hawk war of 1832. that was where stewart and lincoln met. lincoln works as a junior partner for john todd stewart, but eventually what he wants to do is to be on his own. and he achieves that in 1844, taking along with him as a junior partner of his own william henry herndon who will over the years to come become something of the boswell to lincoln's johnson. lincoln spends a great deal of his professional time in the lawyer, practicing on the eighth judicial circuit, which is mostly central illinois. at its apex, it is 14 counties
in central illinois, including the capital springfield where lincoln lives. his law practice is overwhelmingly civil law. only about 5% of lincoln's cases over the years touched on criminal matters. he is mostly a civil lawyer. practicing civil law. he does will and estates, he does trespass and assumption, and he does collections. in fact, he does a lot of collections. abraham lincoln was a repo man. but in fact, his caseload is really not the caseload of a specialist. he is providing legal services for all comers, so it is a very broadly based practice, and it is one that keeps him very busy.
in his busiest year 1853, lincoln has over 300 cases for which he is responsible. that is a lot. he is not only a civil lawyer, he is a trial lawyer. he is not one of these lawyers who sits in an office and reads papers in the inbox and outbox. he is a lawyer. he specialized, specializes in working in front of juries, convincing juries, and on the old eighth judicial circuit, that was a challenge. and for two reasons, in those days, juries had a whole lot more in the way of discretion for how long was decided. then they do for instance today. today judges, legislatures, statutes pretty much layout with the law is, and juries measure if the case measures up to that. a lincoln's case, juries could
buck directions given by judges are interpreting statutes or applying statutes. so that was a challenge for lincoln in appearing before these juries. he not only had to make a case, but he also had to make a theory behind the case for the benefit of the jury he was talking to. the other thing about these juries is, these are not carefully selected, carefully screened juries. in these county courthouses through central illinois, a jury could as often as not be selected from whoever the spectators were standing in the back of the courtroom. that meant that lincoln had to learn how to communicate the clearest and most recent level. and he had to do it swiftly, convincingly, or he would soon be out of business. but on the other hand, dottie as that might be, as a trial lawyer, this is extremely good training for someone who will later on politically speaking have to be someone who
specializes in convincing people of big arguments. a lot of what makes lincoln such a great speaker, such a great writer, with such a tremendous capacity to convince people very logical, a lot of that grows out of his experience as a trial lawyer on the eighth judicial circuit, and by all measurements, he is successful as a trial lawyer. he enjoys the work of a trial lawyer, and he benefits from it quite readily, so that by the 1850's, he has accumulated a fairly healthy nest egg. he has a house of his own in springfield, illinois. he is sometimes taking in fees
as high as $5000 for a particular case, and in those days, $5000 is a lot of money. a middle-class income in the middle 1850's would be, walt whitman estimated, $1000 a year. lincoln can pull in $5000 for one case. so he is doing law not just economically but doing well socially. in 1842, he marries mary todd. now if you notice, john todd stewart and very todd lincoln -- yes, they are cousins. that is how mary todd comes to springfield, coming from her home in lexington, kentucky, visiting springfield. that is where she meets lincoln. now it has to be said in all candor that meeting lincoln was not always the easiest thing to
do because all right, let's be frank, the man is homely. he is, i am sorry. it really is true. holy enough with the big years, the big nose, the high hollow cheekbones, and although the caller and the time tended to mitigate, his neck reminded you of a giraffe. he was 6'4", most of the height in the legs. he would be the same dimensions as any of us. but standing up. watching him standup was like watching a jackknife unfold. he was awkward. he spoke with a peculiar accent, very high-pitched, twangy, border state kind of accent, and
he did not really sound elegant. elegant was a word you use most about mary todd. most of her todd relatives did not understand what it was she saw in lincoln. and tried to talk her out of the marriage. but she did see things others did not, and so they were married in 1842. this is a big social step for abraham lincoln, because by marrying mary todd, he has effectively married into the first families of the illinois whig party. so he has moved up dramatically in economic terms and in social terms, but it does not mean he is always the happiest and most contented of people. there is a streak of melancholy, of depression in lincoln he called the hypo, which would
cover him in gloom. to meet lincoln is to meet a complex, complicated person. kellyanne. >> do you think mary todd was after his money? allen guelzo: no, because her truth was her family was wealthier than he was. her father was a prominent merchant in kentucky. they are actually much more well off than lincoln. lincoln of course is coming up, but again people would wonder, what does she see in this man lincoln? not enough of it to be a really compelling argument. not a gold digger argument. she sees qualities and him that others at first don't. most of the time when they met lincoln, what they thought they were meeting as one illinois
acquaintance described it, when you met lincoln for the first time, it was like meeting a rough, intelligent farmer. and that of course could easily make you underestimate him. he made jokes about his own looks. and why shouldn't he? if he didn't, someone else would, so he would be them to the punch. a photographer said, as photographers will, just look natural. lincoln's reply was, that is what i am trying to avoid. on another occasion he told a joke about a man riding through the forest on the path and coming from the other direction on the path, a woman on a horse who stops and stares at him. very rude thing to do. he says, madam, what are you staring at? she says, you are about the ugliest man i have ever met. to which he says, i can't help that.
but she replies, will, you could stay home. no, he made jokes about his own looks, but intended to induce people to think here was a simple man. but one of his legal associates, leonard sweat, he was the most perceptive about lincoln. if anyone took a lincoln for a simple minded man would soon wake up with his back in a ditch. he used people to his own advantage. but even success economically and socially is not the most important thing for lincoln. what he wants his success
politically, and political success mean election to congress. and that is what in 1846 he sets out to do, to get himself elected to congress from the seventh congressional district in midstate illinois, and he is duly elected. he is not this moment when you would think of as being an apostle of opposition to slavery. years later he would say, i am naturally anti-slavery. if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. i cannot remember but i did not also think and feel but that's to be being opposed to slavery did not turn him into an abolitionist. in 1937, sitting in the state legislature, he joined with another whig representative decrying slavery as bad practice, bad policy, and
injustice. but he does not do more than that. when he goes to washington as a member of congress, he backs a bill to abolish the slave trade in the district of columbia, this is before the compromise of 1850. but the bill goes nowhere, and lincoln doesn't press on it. so he is opposed to slavery. he is anti-slavery, but he is not an activist on the subject. that is until 1854. the reason he is not an activist on the subject is because 1854, he is convinced that slavery is a dying system which is on its own way out. lincoln believes first of all that the founders constructed the united states' constitution
to be an anti-slavery document. not that the constitution abolished slavery, but that the constitution created the system and represented the intentions of the founders who believed they had put slavery on the road to extinction. it would happen gradually, painlessly, but it would happen. it would be inevitable. the second thing is lincoln believes that by confining slavery to the southern states, slavery will turn out to be a system which uses up its own oxygen. that the kind of agriculture the slave represents will, as tobacco did in the 18th century, wear out the soil, and when it's uneconomical, slavery will come to an end, but it will do it on its own.
no one is to behave like garrison and the abolitionists. nobody needs to push hard on the slave states and alienate and anger them. it is simply a process, and we will let this process unfold. so he is anti-slavery, but he doesn't feel any need to take active measures against slavery because he believes it is inevitable. it is going to die out on its own. it is a system doomed by its own logic to fade away. that was no longer a tenable notion after the kansas-nebraska act. the kansas-nebraska act, by opening up the vast stretches of the louisiana purchase to the
possibility of legalized slavery through stephen douglas' popular doctrine of slavery, that was like a blinding flash of lightning. suddenly slavery was no longer going to be confined to the southern states, no longer to asphyxiate on its own. to the contrary, it opened up the possibility that it was going to spread and mutate like an irresistible virus. but it was going to swallow up the whole of the american west. both the louisiana purchase and the mexican cession, and then it was going to turn back to the free states of the north and legalized slavery there. that was why the kansas-nebraska act was such a shock.
that is why we get salmon chase and the independent democrats. that is why we get charles sumner and the crime against kansas. we get bleeding kansas. lincoln testifies to this. the nebraska bill astounded us. we are thunderstruck and stunned, and we reeled and fell into utter confusion, but we rose. each fighting, grasping what ever he could first reach. a pitchfork, a chopping ax or a butchers cleaver. not literally. but rhetorically and politically, yes. just as the anthony burns rendition had put him of florence under the position of saying one night we went to bed old, compromised whigs, then
wake up stark raving mad abolitionists, the nebraska bill had something of the same effect on lincoln. he wakes up, slavery not going away on its own. it will not go peacefully. it will turn and strangle the rest of us. that means we have to do something about it. and we have to do something about slavery, and it is this which transforms lincoln into the public opponent and critic of slavery and slavery extension. he goes public for the first time in october 1854 in a lengthy speech that he gives in peoria, illinois, which is in some respects the best speech he ever gave. there are other speeches of lincoln's which are more eloquent, the gettysburg address
of course, but in terms of offering a comprehensive view of the most important questions of the day, nothing, nothing beats the peoria speech. on october 16, 1854, in it lincoln addresses the other mental political issue, which is the repeal of the missouri compromise. which is another way of saying the kansas-nebraska act, because kansas-nebraska act did repeal the missouri compromise. a repeal of the missouri optimize is wrong in its direct effects, letting slavery into kansas and nebraska. but the problem here is more. then just the technicalities of the kansas-nebraska bill allowing slavery to be legalized if people want to in the western territories. after all, stephen douglas'
rationale for attaching the popular sovereignty doctrine to the organization of kansas and nebraska really went something like this. look, if we argue about slavery here in washington dc, it will paralyze congress, the executive, and the judiciary. federal government has got business to do. it does not need to be arguing about slavery. that slavery out into the territories and let the people there decide for themselves if they want to have slavery. all right, fine. if they don't want to have slavery, that is fine too. but they get the question out of washington. let the people out there settle it. what douglas is saying, he doesn't care. whether slavery gets legalized or not legalized. so long as it is not having a bad effect on the country of the whole, so long as it is not paralyzing the country
economically and politically. he is indifferent. it is not a matter to stephen a. douglas. or the advocates, were you slavery is right or wrong. it is just annoying. so get it to a place where it is not going to be annoying, at least not to the rest of the country. but it is exactly this lincoln hones in on. lincoln is not content to merely criticizing the kansas-nebraska because it is a repeal of the missouri compromise. there is something much more wrong with the kansas to rescue bill and the logic of popular sovereignty, and the thing that is wrong is the business of indifference about slavery. that is the real root of the trouble.
because the only people, the only reason people are going to buy into kansas-nebraska, the only reason they will buy the repeal, is because they have been persuaded by people like stephen a. douglas to be indifferent on the subject of slavery. it is this declared in difference that is the real problem that is what leads people to embrace of the -- that is what leaves people to embrace the repeal. this declared indifference, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery. douglas will tell you, i am just putting the question out there to the voters. lincoln says, yeah, right. this declared indifference, or covert real zeal for the spread of slavery.
i hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. the thing that lincoln is critiquing, the very problem with the kansas-nebraska bill, it cultivates an attitude of indifference something that is a monstrous injustice. what kind of an example do we think we are setting as a republic if we tolerate slavery? encourage its growth? what are we saying about the very idea most precious to all of us, the idea of republican
government in which all men are created equal. does it suggest republicanism is a fraud? how can you talk about the sovereignty of the people and take a big chunk of the people and say they can never participate in this? doesn't it make republicanism laughable? at least the monarchs are consistent. i am the king, you do what i say. there is no attempt by a king to put a sugarcoating around monarchy. here we are as a republic, we are supposed to be enunciating this enlightenment principles.
what are we doing? we are contradicting it completely. maybe we should go back to being monarchs and have a king. that would be more consistent. it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world. with plausibility to taunt us as hypocrites. causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity. lincoln is not trying to demonize southerners. southern slaveholders, very good men, he knows them. he was born in kentucky and his wife was born in kentucky and his wife's family owns slaves.
henry clay owned slaves. he is not saying the problem is some kind of demonic possession of southerners. these southerners are americans and they profess republican principle. in defending slavery, it turns them inside out. it is them into open war with a very fundamental principles of civil liberty. criticizing the declaration of independence. insisting there is no right principle of action but self-interest. the doctrine, lincoln says, the
doctrine of self-government is right, absolutely and eternally right, and that was part of the strategy of stephen a douglas. what does that sound like? that is democracy, let the people on the ground make the choices, right? the doctrine of self-government is right. but it has no just application. perhaps i should rather say, whether it has such application depends on whether a negro is not or is a man. if a negro is a man, isn't it a total destruction of self-government? talk about popular sovereignties. and then you take a whole
category of people and you exclude them from governing themselves. that is not really self-government. that is a fraud, a bad imitation of self-government. it is not just that stephen a douglas is a covert politician, the problem is our republican road was soiled. we all have our hands in the toilet. our republican road is soiled. we have allowed it to become soiled. the fundamental thing we have to do is to turn and wash it white in the spirit of the revolution. let us turn slavery from its claims of moral right. back upon its existing legal
rights and arguments of necessity, which is to say the only reason we tolerate slavery is the same way we tolerate what the founders did. because it was there and it has certain legal guarantees. let us return to the position our fathers gave it, let it rest in peace, rip. let us re-adopt the declaration of independence. let all lovers of liberty join in the great and good work. if we do this, we shall not only have saved the union but we have saved it as to keep it forever worthy of the saving.
free and happy people the world over shall rise up and call us blessed. our task is not just about the missouri compromise or popular sovereignty, it is about the whole american project. that is what is at stake here. it is not whether james or kenneth can take their slaves with them in to kansas. they might be nice people. what is at stake is the entire project of self-government, sovereignty of the people. ian and kenneth might be nice guys but they have called into question the fundamental principles of american government. if we start there, we will work
our way back and everything else will sort it out and we will be rid of slavery. but we have to there at that fundamental level. that was what lincoln wanted to do. the question was whether he would get a chance to do it. a lot of the question about that chance was bound up with this individual, a slave from missouri born in 1795 named dred scott. dred scott was a slave owned by dr. john emerson. as part of his service in united states army as a contract civilian, he, like everyone else
in the army at all times, constantly has to uproot and move and go to various places. i can testify to that as an army brat. you knew you were only going to be about 6-8 months in any location before you would have to move on. he is stationed first at fort armstrong in illinois. then he is moved to minnesota while minnesota was still a territory. dr. emerson marries eliza sanford. he dies in 1843. dred scott, after the death of dr. emerson, dred scott sues for
his freedom. in the year 1846. eliza sanford transfers ownership of dred scott to her brother john sanford in 1850. that is just a detail. dred scott sues for his freedom. sues in the state courts in missouri. why? >> [inaudible] prof. guelzo: look at fort armstrong. what is illinois? illinois is a free state. mind you, there were transit laws. transit laws permitted slaveholders, if they have to journey or live for a short period of time, to do so without
jeopardizing title to their slaves. emerson was doing more than a quick pass through illinois. even more so, fort snelling is in the minnesota territory. what is the minnesota territory governed by? >> [inaudible] prof. guelzo: no, the northwest ordinance of 1787. it mandated that slavery could not exist in those territories. dred scott's logic is, i was taken into a free state and lived there not under temporary transit but i lived in a semipermanent position and then i was moved to fort snelling in minnesota. slavery is a legal impossibility.
that is the basis of his plea. he goes into the missouri courts and sues for his freedom. if scott had entered this suit 10 or 15 years before, he would probably have been freed by the missouri courts. it was a good and solid plea. but this was not years before. this was 1846 and a lot had changed. when scott appeals to the missouri supreme court, the missouri supreme court strikes down his appeal on these grounds. times are not now as they were when the former decisions on the subject were made. since then, states have been
possessed with a dark spirit in relation to slavery. whose inevitable consequences must be the destruction and overthrow of our government. under such circumstances, in other words, that was then and this is now, it does not behoove the state of missouri to show the least countenance to any measure which might gratify the spirit. theis willing to fulfill full responsibility. the answer to dred scott is, nope, too bad. there is a complication. after all, in moving to illinois and into minnesota, scott has crossed state boundaries. this becomes more than a state affair. this moves into federal
jurisdiction and scott will appeal to the federal courts in 1854. the ultimate court of appeal is the united states supreme court. dred scott versus sanford, they misspelled it in the official docketing of the case. dred scott versus sanford. what is the supreme court going to do with this? what body, what governmental
body past the northwest ordinance? >> was it the british? prof. guelzo: the confederation congress. congress has the authority to make rules for the northwest territories. fast-forward to the kansas-nebraska act. it lays down rules governing slavery in kansas and nebraska. ok? congress does that. congress adopts the kansas-nebraska act. the united states congress is vested with the authority to make determinations about the status of slavery in the territories. no matter what decision of makes, the northwest ordinance was no slavery.
kansas-nebraska, slavery if you can get a majority. it is congress which has the authority to oversee. that is about to change. boy, is that about to change. it changes because of this gentleman. the chief justice in united states supreme court, roger brooke taney appointed to the supreme court by andrew jackson. taney had been a faithful jacksonian servant. when jackson made his war upon the bank of the united states, the hatchet man was roger brooke taney. jackson appoints into the supreme court to succeed john marshall.
for more than 20 years he had been chief justice of the united states supreme court. it is to taney's court that the dred scott case comes. on march 6, 1857, a decision is handed down. it is a clear-cut majority decision, 7-2, and the opinion in this case is written by taney himself. he says, basically, two things -- dred scott must stay a slave because he has no standing to sue a federal court. it is a question of jurisdiction. this is a technicality. he writes, the question before
us is whether the class of persons described as a person of these people. and our constituents of the sovereignty. we think they are not. and that they are not included and were not intended to be included under the word citizen in constitution. they can therefore claim none of the rights and villages -- and privileges. his first answer in the dred scott case is a no. on the basis that dred scott is a slave and black. the founders wrote this constitution for this country for white people who are free. white people who are free are the only ones who can be citizens. scott is not a citizen.
ergo, scott does not have standing to sue in federal court. since dred scott cannot be a citizen, he cannot sue. taney might've stopped right there and made this a question of jurisdiction. a way of saying, i have just found a reasoning whereby i will not have to put my hand further into this mess. this is an example of s.e.p. -- somebody else's problem. taney was not content to stop there.
he has to also provide an opinion based upon popular sovereignty and due process. when he makes the comment that black slaves could not be included under the word citizens and can claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for. rights and privileges. if rights and privileges do not belong to dred scott, it means they do belong to white citizens. great. what are those rights and privileges? that is what he picks up here. statess of the united migrating to a territory belonging to the people of the united states cannot be ruled as mayor colonists dependent upon the will of the general government and to be governed i any laws they may think proper.
an act of congress which deprives a citizen of the united states of his property because he brought his property into a particular property and who -- itted every citizen is entitled to due process of law. if you want to take your property into the kansas territory, you should be entitled to do it. as a citizen, you have certain privileges and you can not be deprived of those privileges without due process of law. congress cannot pass a statute that says, if you owned a dapple horse, no dapple horses may be taken into kansas. you would look at that and say, are you people in congress nuts? congress might pass a statute but that will go into the
courts. and you would say, i want due process of law. courts will say, congress must have been sniffing something when it passed that statute. that is crazy, throw that out. everybody gets the same process of law applied to them. transfer that to slave property, to chattel property. if you, ian james, owned a slave and you want to go to the kansas territory, it is an act of arbitrary tyranny for congress to say to you, you can take your
cat and your pig and goat and horse but you cannot take your slave. the one is as much property under law as the other. why should you be told you cannot bring that slave into the kansas territory? taney is using the idea of due process to blow up the doctrine of popular sovereignty. he is blowing up the whole notion that congress has any authority to legislate for the territories. in particular, this is aimed at popular sovereignty. if you, ian james, want to take
your slave into the kansas territory, you will only get to keep your slave if you can persuade everyone else in congress -- in kansas to agree with you and legalize in kansas. suppose everyone in kansas looks at ian james and says, we will not legalize slavery. we will exercise popular sovereignty and for bid slavery in kansas. by his reasoning, they cannot do that to you. you are a u.s. citizen and cannot be deprived of your property without due process of law and due process of law will immediately expose that as an arbitrary piece of legislation. what is he saying? there is now no restraint, not even the restraint of popular sovereignty, on taking slaves into the territories. ian wants to take his slave with
him into kansas. nobody can take that away from him anymore than they can take away his pick or goat or catt. taney just blew popular sovereignty into pieces. he blew the entire notion of congressional control over the territory. there is now no restraint. on the expansion of slavery into the territories. if you thought -- zachary, you thought back in 1854 that the kansas-nebraska act with the
problem because it provided the possibility of legalizing slavery, if you thought that was a problem, look at the migraine headache you have now. kansas-nebraska was a sniffle compared to the dred scott decision. do you see the logic of this? yes. yes, indeed. nobody, nobody thought this was better news than the new president of the united states james buchanan. buchanan is inaugurated on march 4, 1857, two days before the dred scott decision is handed down and he rejoices because he looks at the decision at the final settlement of the slavery question. the dred scott decision has made it absolutely clear, final, and
absolute, congress has nothing to do with slavery. congress can pass no statute. out of the slavery business. kansas, the kansas territory is still bleeding. proslavery forces took a leaf out of buchanan's book and assembled their own constitutional convention, state constitutional convention at the proslavery capital of kansas. they adopt a state constitution legalizing slavery. this draft state constitution,
which becomes known as the lecompton constitution, is sent to the united states congress. so the congress can approve this and it that kansas as a slave state to the union. james buchanan puts his shoulder to the wheel, nobody wants the lecompton constitution adopted more than james buchanan. he gets his way at first. the senate of the united states adopts the lecompton constitution. but there, buchanan starts to lose traction.
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