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American History

Article Review

Article Review 2

The article entitled Case Background is intriguing and informative.  It places readers right in the center of the abolition of slavery and the early fight for equality.  Instead of merely providing dry facts about early slavery in America and the dream of freedom, the author supplies a descriptive story about one man’s fight for freedom.  Numerous interesting and educational facts about slavery and the early American judicial system are presented in the article.  The purpose of the article, Case Background, is to share about the history of slavery and the judicial struggle for slaves to gain freedom.

The first paragraph describes the life as a slave for Scott.  Scott had lived with Emerson for most of his life, traveling between several different states, some of which were considered free states.  The article describes that Scott lived for about seven years in free states, although he was still Emerson’s slave.  Scott began his fight for freedom in 1846.

Scott filed an official declaration for freedom.  The article describes several similar judicial cases resulting in granting freedom to slaves.  However, Scott’s first attempt at slavery was not as lucky.  At which point, he took his case to the federal judicial system.

The next attempt at freedom proved just as unsuccessful for Scott.  The court ruled in favor of Sanford.  So, Scott hired an attorney and took his case to the highest tribunal in the country, the United States Supreme Court.  An attorney named Montgomery Blair –a Missourian himself, a highly respected lawyer in Washington, and a supporter of the Free Soil party–agreed to take Scott’s case without expecting payment.

The article describes that until the case was presented in the Supreme Court, it had not gained much attention.  The debate revolving whether slavery was a congress issue or a court issue continued.  When the court finally met a conclusion, it was overthrown due to the fact that it represented only one man’s perspectives instead of considering larger issues such as the abolition of slavery and Negro citizenship.

Two days after the inauguration of President Buchanan, in 1857, the court had finally reached a decision.  Taney declared that slaves and Negros did not deserve the same rights under the Constitution of the United States.  Furthermore, the case was dismissed.  Scott’s judicial case never concluded in his freedom.  Meanwhile, things got heated in the press as Republicans and Democrats spat back and forth.  The rivalry between Northern and Southern states continued to grow.  Moreover, four years following the decision presented by Taney, the colonies broke out in a Civil War.

The article is extremely logical and informative.  It provides a plethora of detailed knowledge including the life of a slave and his fight for freedom, the history of the judicial system, the fight between North and South, and the onset of the Civil War.  The information certainly expands the knowledge of readers, creating a wonderfully tangible mental portrait.  The case certainly filled in the gaps of understanding the abolition of slavery and the early judicial system.  I would be interested to discover the change in the courts after the war.