On the Constitutional Side…

14th Amendment Part 2

I have endeavored to read through the Dredd Scott case, which is an 1856 case that definitively defined the who the  founding fathers intended to include within the meaning of the term “Citizen of the United States.”  There is quite a bit to this case, as mentioned it is 110 pages long – who would have thought that the Supreme Court Justices of that time would have had that much to say on any one subject?  With that wise crack aside, this was a most important case in which a person born into slavery (Missouri) was moved from time to time to other parts of the country (Illinois, Wahington DC, & Mississippi).

Dredd Scott relied on the fact that newer states admitted into the country could not be slave states and therefore when passing through such a northern state he was no longer a slave.  In so doing, he was then accepted into the citizenry of the state as part of “The People” who created the sovereignty of the United States.  This was not the case according the Chief Justice Taney.  Keep in mind the time-frame, this was prior to the Civil War and prior to the 13th Amendment.  Dredd Scott brought a legal suit against his master/captor.  He left Illinois to bring about this suit in the state courts of Missouri.  Mr. Scott, by his own averment, indicated that he was born into slavery due to his lineage.  He also made the mistake, in his assumptions, that he was a citizen of the several states – based upon the determination of Chief Justice Taney; another mistake he made was to return to the state of Missouri from Illinois, in which he proceeded to bring this suit – in so doing he returned himself to a state of slavery, based upon the laws of Missouri as determined/inferred by Justice Nelson.

The slaves who were of African decent were noted in the following ways: the African race, the unfortunate race, the negro race, the negro slave,beings of an inferior order, this unhappy race, etc.

These people were brought from Africa  to be traded, bought and sold as lawful property, no different than how we see cattle today.  One of the questions which  Chief Justice Taney posed before the court was:  Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guaranteed by that instrument to the citizen?

Based upon the litany of cases, individual state laws (in force and enacted at the time of USCs adoption and after), Federal laws, the Constitutions (state & federal), etc.  I have also read many of the writings of Abraham Lincoln during his time as a lawyer (1836-1850s) in which he indicated a desire for freedom for the negro slaves, but the preference of creating a colony where they could be taken back to their homeland of Africa, or some other island.

See also Part 1 Part 3, Part 4

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