tv Lincoln Slavery and the Dred Scott Case CSPAN April 30, 2017 10:55am-12:16pm EDT
southern blacks, violating the due process clause. it was the first time they struck down the criminal conviction process. that was a huge moment putting criminal trials and linking them with race. announcer 1: tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. 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 an 1858 u.s. senate race where one of the main topics with the issue of slavery in the united states. professor guelzo talks about how the dred scott case served to polarize political views on whether new states 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 move 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. now 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 were thomas and nancy hanks lincoln, and lincoln himself is born in hodginville, kentucky in a log cabin, yes, quite literally. he doesn't stay in kentucky because in 1818, his parents uproot from kentucky and move northwards across the ohio river into southern indiana. and 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. now in what is almost an inversion of the old hansel and the wickedy about 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, just, they are copacetic, something that cannot be said about lincoln's relationship with his father, thomas. where the relationship was in fact a good deal more tense. lincoln would once describe his father as being the sort of man who could bunglingly sign his own name. that was not a compliment. lincoln and his father lived two very different quantities, 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 that he is going to strike out on his own. upon
has very little in common with the life of thomas lincoln. thomas lincoln was content to be a farmer, a jacksonian if there ever was one. abraham lincoln has other dreams. he has no use for the agrarian life. he goes into some short-lived businesses in salem. hekeeps trying until finally gets elected to the illinois state legislature in 1834. he will serve cointreau terms. -- four terms. and one would almost say he is a wig's wig.
-- henry clay's american system. henry clay will be for lincoln what lincoln calls his ideal of a statesman. he is much more suspicious in what he has to say about andrew jackson. it is not a matter entirely of applause. the words we look at last time where lincoln is talking about the tenor of the world, labors for wages, so -- saves a surplus to buy land for himself and then labors on his own and hires to help him. , says advocates, is free labor. labor, the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way for all, gives hope to all an engine --
energy and progress and improvement of condition to all. if any continued through the system of hired labor, it is not the fault of the system but because of the dependent nature that prefers it or in providence, bali or singular miss working. this is lincoln affirming that only the principles of free -ish self whigg transformation, but also where he draws his contrast with slavery. there is no permanent class of hirer -- hired laborers amongst us, at least in the north. remember james hammond defending slavery on the grounds that every society requires a mudsill class to perform all of the mudsill duties.
hammond was the genius of the south the discovered a specific group of people who would perform those duties and nothing but for the entirety of the lives which were, of course in this case, black slaves. by contrast, lincoln says there is no permanent class of hired laborers. there is no mudsill class. 25 years ago, i was a hired laborer. i was one of those mudsills. hashired labor of yesterday laborers of his own account, today. advancement. is thement in condition order of things in society of equals. improvement and advancement of condition of exec of things that a slave cannot aspire to that's exactly the kinds of things that slow -- that a slave cannot aspire to.
people are surprised when they see this image. this is the first photograph of abraham lincoln. it is not quite look like the fellow that we have on the five dollar bill. taken in about 1846. in this, lincoln does not look like somebody fresh office father's farm. by 1846, he was not. when he goes up to the legislature in 1834, he also carries with him a desire for advancement in the way to advancement for lincoln is to study law. ,e becomes a lawyer apprenticing himself as a jr. partner to a prominent kentucky lawyer named john todd stewart, who he had met during the
militia service he rendered during the black hawk war of 1832. that is where they met. lincoln works as a jr. partner for john todd stewart. eventually, he wants to be on his own. in 1844,es that taking, along with him as a jr. partner of his own, william henry herne who will over the years to come, become something of a boswell to lincoln's johnson. lincoln spends a great deal of his professional time as a lawyer practicing on the eighth judicial circuit, which is mostly central illinois. and its apex, it is 14 counties -- at its apex, it is 14
counties, including springfield, where he lives. his law practice is overwhelmingly civil law. only that 5% of lincoln's cases over the years touched on criminal matters. he is mostly a civil lawyer. estates, hes and does trespass and he does collections. he does a lot of collections. abraham lincoln was a repo man. his caseload is really not the caseload of a specialist. he is providing legal services for all comers. it is a broadly based practice and one that keeps him busy. year, 1853,st 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 a lawyer who sits in an office and moves papers from the inbox to the outbox. he is a trial lawyer who specializes in working in front of juries, convincing juries. on the old eighth judicial circuit, that was a challenge. 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, today -- than they do, today. law --out with the juries simply measure whether a case measures up to that. in lincoln's day, juries had a lot of discretions about bucking directions given by judges or
interpreting statutes were applying statutes. -- or applying statutes. that was a challenge for lincoln . 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 is these juries are not carefully selected, carefully screened. they used little county courthouses. a jury could be selected from whoever the spectators were standing at the back of the courtroom. that meant that lincoln had to learn how to communicate at the clearest and most basic level. he had to do it swiftly, convincingly or he would soon be out of business. on the other hand, daunting as that might be, as a trial lawyer, this is extremely good training for someone who will later on,-- will
politically speaking, have to convince people of big arguments. lincoln such makes a great speaker, such a great writer, with such a tremendous capacity to convince people, their illogical, a lot of that grows out of his experience as a trial lawyer. by all measurements, he is successful. he enjoys the work of a trial lawyer and he benefits from it. by the 1850's, he has accumulated a fairly healthy nest egg. he has a house of his own in springfield. he is sometimes taking in fees as high as five housing dollars. days, $5,000 in those
that was a lot of money. and middle-class income in the 1850's would be $1000 or more i year. -- for more a year. lincoln could pull in $5,000. so he is doing very well as a lawyer. he is also doing well socially. marries mary todd. noticed john todd stewart and mary todd lincoln, yes, they were cousins. that is how mary todd comes to springfield. she is coming from her home in kentucky and visiting springfield. it is there that she meets lincoln. candorto be said in all that meeting lincoln was not always the easiest thing to do,
because let's be frank. the man is homely. he is. it really is true. homely enough with big years, the big nose, the high, hollow cheek bones. although the collar and the time tend to mitigate it, his neck reminded you of a giraffe. with most of'4" the height in his legs. chair, itsitting in a would strike you as the same dimensions as anyone else. watching him stand up from the chair was like watching a jackknife unfold. he was awkward. accent, with a peculiar very high-pitched and twangy. he did not sound elegant.
elegant was the word you probably used most about mary todd. relatives diddd not understand what it was she saw in lincoln and tried to talk her out of -- trying to talk her out of the match. she did see things in lincoln that others did not. they are married in 1842. step for big social lincoln. hasarrying mary todd, he effectively married into the first families of the illinois whig party. inhas moved up dramatically economic terms and social terms. alwayses not mean he is the happiest and most contented of people. ,here is a streak of melancholy of depression in lincoln that he called the hypo.
meet a lincoln is to complex, complicated person. todd was ahink mary gold digger? truth, hercause in 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 people would wonder what does she see in this man. not enough to be a compelling argument. him thatqualities in others at first blush don't. most of the time when people met lincoln, what they ought they were meeting, as one acquaintance described it, when
you met lincoln for the first time, it was like meeting a rough intelligent armor -- intelligent farmer. i could easily make you underestimate him. he made jokes about his own looks. why shouldn't he, because if he didn't, someone would do it for him. a photographer once said of lincoln, he just looked natural and his reply was that is what i am trying to avoid. manold a joke about a riding through the forest on a path and coming from the other direction, a woman on a horse who stops and stares at him. a rude thing to do. madam, what are you staring at? she says you are about the ugliest man i have ever met. butays i can't help that
she replies, will you could stay home -- well you could stay home. he made jokes about his own looks which also tended to induce people to think he was a simple man. associates made the most perceptive comment ever made about him. he said anyone who took abraham lincoln three simple man did -- simpleminded man would soon wake up with their back in a ditch. he used people's underestimation of him to his own advantage. economically and socially -- what he wants is success politically. political success is going to mean election to congress. what in 1846, he sets
out to do. he is duly elected. he is not at this moment what you would think of as being an apostle of opposition to slavery. years later, he would say i am naturally antislavery. if slavery is not wrong, nothing is not wrong -- nothing is wrong. i cannot remember when i did not so think and feel. simply being opposed to flavor -- to slavery did not turn him into an abolitionist. it did not turn him into a william lloyd garrison. in 1837, while sitting on the state legislature, he joins with another whig representative to offer a resolution decrying slavery as bad practice, that
policy -- bad policy and in justice. he does not do -- and injustice. he does not do more than that. he backs a bill in congress to abolish the slave trade in the district of columbia. this was before the compromise of 1850. the bill goes nowhere and lincoln does not press on it. but hepposed to slavery, is not what you would call an activist on the subject. that is until 1854. the reason he's not an activist on the subject is because before 1854, he is convinced that slavery is a dying system which is on its own way out. lincoln believes that the founders constructed the united states constitution to be an
antislavery document. not that the constitution abolished slavery, but that the constitution created a system and represented the intentions of 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 that 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 that slavery represents will as tobacco did in the 18th century where out the soil, where out the economy and become economical -- become uneconomical and when it does, slavery will come to an end.
no one needs to behave like garrison and the abolitionists. no one 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. antislavery, but he does not feel any need to take active measures. 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. -- nickas never ask act -- kansas nebraska act, by opening up fast stretches -- vast stretches of the louisiana
purchase to the possibility of legalized slavery through steve ring -- stephen douglas's doctrine was like a blinding flash of lightning. suddenly, slavery was no longer going to be confined to the southern states, no longer going to asphyxiate on its own. to the contrary, the kansas nebraska act opened up the possibility that it was going to spread and mutate like an irresistible virus. that it was going to swallow up the whole of the american west, both the louisiana purchase and the mexico session. to turnat, it was going its attention to the free states of the north and legalize slavery there. that was why the kansas depressed act was such a shock.
-- kansas nebraska act was such a shock. -- get why we get the charles sumner and the crime against kansas and bleeding kansas. lincoln testifies to this. the nebraska bill astounded us. we were thunderstruck and stunned and we reeled and fell into utter confusion. but we rose. each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach. a size, a pitchfork or a butchers cleaver, not literally. rhetorically and politically, yes. just as the rendition had put lawrence in the position of saying one night we went to bed all compromised whigs and woke
up stark raving mad abolitionists, well the nebraska act has a similar effect on lincoln. he wakes up and says slavery is not going to go up on its own. he says on the contrary, it is going to strangle the rest of us and that means we have to do something about it and we have to do something about slavery. it is this which transforms lincoln into a public opponent and critic of slavery and slavery extension. public for the first time in october of 1854 in a lengthy speech he gives in illinois, which in some respects is the greatest speech he ever gave. there are other speeches that are more eloquent, the gettysburg address of course. camp -- of offering a
comprehensive view of the most important questions of the day, nothing beats this speech. october 16, 1854. in it, lincoln addresses the fundamental political issue, which is their appeal of the missouri compromise -- is the appeal of the missouri compromise -- the repeal of the wrong incompromise is its direct effect, letting slavery into kansas and nebraska. the problem here is more. more than just the technicalities of the kansas nebraska bill allowing slavery to be legalized if people want it in the western territories. after all, stephen douglas's rationale for attaching the popular sovereignty doctrine to
the organization of kansas and nebraska really went something like this. slavery in about washington, d.c., it will paralyze congress and the executive and judiciary. the federal government has the people's business to do. it does not need to sit around all day arguing about slavery. get it out into the territories and let the people decide for themselves. if they want to have slavery, all right, fine. if they don't want to have slavery, that's fine too. question outet the of washington. let the people out there settle it. douglas says he does not care. -- slaveryvery gets gets legalized or not, so long as it is not having a bad effect on the country as a whole. so long as it's not paralyzing
the country, politically and economically. it was not a matter to stephen douglas on the advocates of popular sovereignty whether slavery is right or wrong. it is just annoying. get it to a place where it's not going to be annoying, at least not to the rest of the country. it is exactly this that lincoln hones in on. lincoln is not content to criticize kansas nebraska because it is a repeal of the missouri compromise. there is something more wrong with the kansas depressed and the logic of popular sovereignty. the thing that is wrong is this business of indifference about slavery. that is the real root of the trouble. reason that people are going to buy into kansas to brassica, the only reason they and the the repeal
notion of legalizing slavery is because they have been persuaded that people like stephen douglas to be indifferent -- persuaded by people like stephen douglas to be indifferent. it is this declared indifference that is the real problem. that is what leaves people to embrace the repeal. this declared indifference, but as i must think, 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 cannot but hate. i hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself.
right away the thing that , lincoln is critiquing, the very problem with the kansas-nebraska bill, it cultivates an attitude of indifference towards something that is a monstrous injustice. what kind of an example do we -- i hated because of the monstrous injustice of slavery, itself. i hated because it denies our republican example of its just influence. what is the united states? a republic. in a sea of monarchies and dictatorships. what kind of an example do we think we are setting as a republic if we tolerate slavery? in fact 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. in which the people are sovereign. doesn't that suggest that 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? how can you do that? doesn't it make republicanism laughable? at least the monarchs are consistent. give them credit. the king of barrett's area -- of taria says 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. -- principal -- principle.
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. enables the enemies of our free institutions 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 principles. they are good men, but the problem is in defending slavery, it turns them inside out. it puts them into open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty. criticizing the declaration of independence. insisting there is no right principle of action but self-interest. remember james henry hammond. 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.
when stephen douglas comes to you and says popular sovereignty , what does that sound like except self-government? that is democracy, let the people on the ground make the choices, right? lincoln says 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? to say that he too shall not govern himself? 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. lincoln says it is not just that stephen a douglas is a covert politician, not just that kansas nebraska appeal to self-interest, it is our republican road was soiled. he is saying we all have our hands in the toilet. our republican road is soiled. we have allowed it to become soiled. trailed in the dust. 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. the people who said that slavery
was good for the slaves. back upon its existing legal rights and arguments of necessity, which is to say the only reason we tolerate slavery is the same reason the founders did. because it was there and it has certain legal guarantees. don't give it more than that. let us return to the position our fathers gave it, let it rest in peace, rip. readoptedpt -- 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. we show that -- we shall have so saved it that 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. ian and kenneth 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. lets start there and 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. emerson was a contract surgeon for the united states army. 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. emerson has to move on, too. 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? why do you think he would do that? >> [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 in illinois 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? what is the statute? >> [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 condition and then i was moved to fort snelling in minnesota, in a territory where slavery is a legal impossibility.
slavery -- if slavery is a legal impossibility, he cannot continue to be a slave in minnesota. 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. it had been recognized by the missouri courts in years before. 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. gratification is sought in the pursuit of measures whose consequences must be the overthrow and destruction 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. she is willing to assume her full possibility for the existence of slavery within her limits nor do she seek to share and divide it with others. the answer to dred scott is, nope, too bad. you stay a slave. 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. his freedom suit comes to the united states supreme court as dred scott versus sanford, they misspelled it in the official docketing of the case. john sanford of criers d -- acquires a d he did not actually have but nevermind. dred scott versus sanford. what is the supreme court going to do with this? you have to think. what body, what governmental
body passed the northwest ordinance? >> was it the british? 3 >> the articles of confederation? prof. guelzo: the confederation congress. the assumption is that congress has the authority to make rules for the northwest territories. fast-forward to the kansas-nebraska act. the kansas nebraska act lays down rules governing slavery in kansas and nebraska. ok? congress does that. congress adopts the kansas-nebraska act. the assumption from the ordinance all the way up to the kansas nebraska act is the united states congress is vested with the authority to make determinations about the status of slavery in the territories. the matter what decision it 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 the 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 him to 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. it is argued and heard and 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. what does he say? 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
-- described in the plea and abatement composed a portion of 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 citizens of the constitution and can therefore claim that of the rights and privileges that instrument provides for and secures. his first answer in the dred scott case is a no. on the basis that dred scott is first of all a slave and second of all 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. this is what he says. black people are somebody else's problem, namely the state. -- namely the states. 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. look at the words 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. citizens of the united states to migrate to a territory wanting to the people of the united states cannot be ruled as mere colonists, dependent upon the will of the general government and to be governed by any laws they think proper to impose.
an act of congress which deprives a citizen of the united states of his liberty or property because he came himself or brought his property into a particular territory and you had committed no offense against the law can hardly be dignified with the name of due process. 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 kenneth mccracken, if you own a dapple horse, no dapple horses may be taken into kansas.
you would look at that and say, are you people in congress nuts? this horse is my property and i will take it with my other with me to kansas. congress might pass a statute but that will go into the courts because you will sue in federal court and you would say, i want due process of law. courts that respect your right as a citizen will say congress must of been sniffing something when it passed that statute presenting the sources from going into kansas. -- those horses from going into kansas. 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. what did popular sovereignty teach? 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
kansas to agree with you and legalized slavery in kansas. -- legalize slavery in kansas. suppose everyone in kansas looks at ian james and says, we will not legalize slavery. we will exercise popular sovereignty and forbid slavery in kansas. by this 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 here? 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.
everyone in kansas might reprobate what he is doing, but as a citizen of the united states in a u.s. territory nobody can take that away from , him anymore than they can take the way his -- take away his hague -- pig or goat or catt. taney just blew popular sovereignty into pieces. with it he blew the entire , notion of congressional control over the territory. there is now no restraint. on the expansion of slavery into the territories. zachary, if you thought back in 1854 that the kansas-nebraska act was a 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 -- as 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. congress cannot do this, that or the other. out of the slavery business. therefore, no reason for any more controversy over slavery. almost. remember 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.
it's speaking, they did not have to do, but they did anyway. this draft state constitution, which becomes known as the lecompton constitution, is sent to the united states congress. the congress can approve this and admit kansas as a slave state into 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.
the lecompton constitution has to go the house of representatives and in the house of representatives, the lecompton constitution fails, 120-112. a compromise proposal is put forward by william h english of indiana. a bill known as the english bill. the compromise works something like this. the lecompton constitution was adopted by the proslavery-ites without a single vote from the anti-slavery kansans and the rest of the state. this is what stuck like a
fishbone sideways in the throats of the house of representatives. the english bill proposes to send the lecompton constitution back to kansas for referendum. to the enormous embarrassment of james buchanan, this time the anti-slavery kansans turn out to vote and the referendum sends the lecompton constitution into the abyss. huge political embarrassment for buchanan. that makes buchanan politically vulnerable. if there is one person in a good position to take account of buchanan's political vulnerability, it is stephen a douglas, the senator from illinois.
douglas had pegged his credibility, his career, his ambitions one day to become president of the united states to the doctrine of popular sovereignty. now it appeared the dred scott decision had exploded popular sovereignty. oh, wait, said douglas, wait a minute, not so fast. in a given territory, let's say that ian takes his slave into kansas, when he arrives in kansas with his slave, where is toto? this is kansas. at that point, ian's slave says this kansas place is nice but
what is over the state border to the north is even better and i am out of here. so he runs away. ian says, call in the marshall and apply the laws for fugitives. wait a minute, there is no law in the books yet. douglas says, in theory, we may have to agree with chief justice taney, that in kansas and nebraska and any other western territories, nobody is obliged two pass or adopt implement the police measures necessary to enforce slavery. douglas reasons all he territory has to do to go back to exercising popular sovereignty is to refuse to enact the police regulations that horse slavery
-- that enforce slavery. because of a state legislation refuses to do that, no slaveowner in their right mind is going to take slaves into that place. it is kind of a negative popular sovereignty. reasoning that way for stephen douglas popular sovereignty , lives. which is not what james buchanan wanted. buchanan and douglas come to loggerheads. the president of the united states versus the most powerful senator in the senate, both as democrats. when douglas comes to call upon james buchanan, it is not a pretty picture.
at last, the president became excited on the subject and said to me, mr. douglas, i desire you to remember that no democrat ever differed from an administration of his own choice without being crushed. don't mess with the president of your party. beware the fate of two democrats who challenged jackson and lived to regret it. i arose and said, douglas said, i wish you would remember that general jackson is dead, sir. which is the 1850's equivalent of saying, i knew andrew jackson. you are no andrew jackson. unfortunately, for stephen a douglas, he is coming up for reelection in 1858.
if james buchanan decides to take revenge by undercutting douglas's bid for reelection, douglas could find himself a man without a job and a politician without a future. douglas has a lot of built up loyalty. the only question is going to be, who are the republicans in illinois going to put up as a challenger? the answer is abraham lincoln. this is not because lincoln is the famous abraham lincoln. this is because abraham lincoln is a prominent former whig
lawyer who has joined the republican party as of 1856, and because no other republican is interested in breaking their teeth trying to challenge stephen a douglas. it is very much a case of, we know we will not win this election, let's nominate lincoln. nobody else wants to lose in the republican ranks. lincoln understood the odds were long but lincoln had had a long career of controversy in opposition with douglas. the state republican convention convenes in springfield, illinois, in mid-june of 1858.
they endorse lincoln for the united states senate. they can only endorse him because before 1912, senators are selected by the state legislatures. strictly speaking, no one is nominating lincoln for the senate anymore than anyone is nominating douglas for the senate. since it is the state legislature, which is also up for election, everyone knows a vote cast for a republican member is the equivalent of a vote cast for lincoln. every vote cast for a democratic member is a vote cast for stephen douglas. that is a daunting prospect. stephen a douglas is a famous political figure in illinois and who was abraham lincoln?
the republican state convention endorses lincoln and on june 16, the evening of june 16, lincoln stands up at the dais in the hall of representatives in springfield. what a place to stand. stood there and looked at the gallery and the images run through your mind. he delivers an acceptance speech which just blows people away. an acceptance speech known as the house divided speech. if we could first know where we
are, politically speaking, and whether we are tending, politically speaking, if we could know what our real position is and understand where the position is taking us, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. i will tell you where we are. i will tell you the direction in which we are tending and it is not pretty. we are in the fifth year, he is talking about kansas-nebraska, since a policy was initiated with a confident process of putting an end to slavery agitation. under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not
only not ceased but has constantly augmented. exhibit a, bleeding kansas. the kansas-nebraska bill really did a lot of good in kansas. kansas-nebraska really brought peace, didn't? in my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. a house divided against itself cannot stand. the real question is not just the lecompton constitution. the real question here is slavery and freedom. lincoln wants to take you back to first principles.
let me tell you what is really at stake here, lincoln says. this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. i do not expect the house to fall, but i do expect it to cease to be divided. it will become all one thing or all the other. either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it or the advocates will push it forward. that is where we are tending. this begins the great political
campaign between lincoln and douglas. it takes its most visible shape in a series of seven debates. between abraham lincoln and stephen douglas, between august and october of 1858. douglas's strategy is to play the race card. abraham lincoln opposes slavery. douglas says, that means he wants to free all the slaves and all the slaves will mix in your society, and they will take your jobs and marry your daughters and that will be just that. lincoln has a hard time fending this off. i agree with douglas that he is not my equal in many respects.
in the right, the natural right, which trumps all civic legislation, in the right to eat the bread which his own hands earned, he is my equal. and judge douglas's equal and the equal of every living man. in 1858, a lot of nervous republicans believed that lincoln was knoting a rope around his neck. douglas has problems of his own. is it the case, lincoln asks, is it really the case that under the heading of negative popular sovereignty, the people of a territory can ban slavery?
you really think so, mr. douglas? douglas has to be careful how he answers the question because if he says, no, i don't really believe that, every northerner will vote against him. if he says that, i do believe that slavery can be excluded, he will lose every democratic voter in the south. can the people of a territory in any lawful way exclude slavery prior to the formation of a state constitution? in my opinion, the people of a territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a state constitution. stephen a douglas had just slit his throat politically.
the people have the lawful means to introduce it or excluded as they please. it is lincoln who seizes the high ground. let us return to first principles. the real issue, lincoln says, between judge douglas and myself is the eternal struggle between these two principles, right and wrong. they are the two principles that have stood face-to-face from the beginning of time. it is the same spirit that says you work and earn bread and i will eat it.
no matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of the king or from one race of men, it is the same tyrannical principle. lincoln lost the election. not because he was not convincing. not because he did not get votes. but because the legislative apportionment favored downstate democratic voters more heavily than midstate and upstate republican voters. douglas is reelected. lincoln's words have made such a deep impact that even though he loses the election, he wins national attention and suddenly people are asking, who is this man from illinois?
who is this man? it would not be lincoln they would hear from next. the next voice would come from our old friend john brown. that is what we will pick up with in our next hour. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> interested in american history tv, visit our website c-span.org/history. you can preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum tours, archival films, and more. american history tv, at
c-span.org/history. chairman proposed reversing the obama administrations regulations on the internet. >> i shared a proposal to reverse the mistake of title ii and returned to the light touch regulatory framework that served our nation so well during the clinton administration, bush administration, and the first six years of the obama administration. >> monday night, we ask jeffrey isa not, director of the center for internet, medications, and policy, and chris lewis, vice president of knowledge, their thoughts on the impact of the proposal. >> we think the rule we got in 2015, the net neutrality rules are working. they are wildly popular. an overwhelming majority of aericans want to have protected and opened internet. we are concerned he is going to
go down a path of review and essentially repeal those rules. inception of the internet, it was free and open. there was not a problem. dystopianno controlled internet with isps or anyone else interfering with people's ability to post content or view content of their choice. >> watch the communicators monday night. it :00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. announcer: recently, american history tv was at the american historical association's annual meeting in denver, colorado. we spoke with professors, authors, and graduate students about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. bill: we are with chelsea medlock, a history professor at oklahoma state university. one of the more interesting to w