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Nicholas D. Riccio Rare Books

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Report of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Opinions of the Judges Thereof, in the case of DRED SCOTT versus John F. A, Sandford; December Term, 1856

Howard, Benjamin C. Tall 8vo, original stringbound wrapper, but may lack publisher's outter wrapper, 239pp. Spine gone, chipping and soiling to wrappers, some foxing or toning to textblock, especially last leaf, last leaf a little loose, but still attached, looks like a few small holes on back leaf, very slight loss of text, normal aging. Overall good or better, considering paper qualoty. Scott born in Missouri in 1810 was the slave of a Dr. Emmerson, who was an U. S. Army surgeon. In 1834, Emmerson took Scott from Missouri to Rock Island, Illinois and then to Fort Snelling, which was near the site for Minneapolis in 1836. He remained at each post for two years. Scott married in 1836 and had two children. Long after he returned to Missouri, he brought suit in a St. Louis Court for his freedom. By that time Scott was the property of John Sanford. Scott won the first round in his quest for freedom by a ruling of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County (State Court). Unfortunately this decision was reversed by a higher court, and then went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court focused on two issues in resolving this case. First, was Scott free because of his residence in two free states? Second, could a Negro of African decent, whose ancestors were imported as slaves, be considered an American Citizen and be entitled to bring suit? In a six to two decision, the Court ruled that Scott was neither free nor a citizen, and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Chief Justice Taney articulated a position that indicated Blacks, slave or free, were not citizens of the U. S. Moreover, as long as a slave and slave owner didn't fix their residence in a free state, the rights of property shall prevail. Finkleman in his work Slavery in the Courtroom, stated "The Dred Scott Case is the most famous legal case involving slavery (and)… the best known Supreme Court decision of the 19th century". While Scott lost his battle in the courts, he and his family were freed in 1857 by a new owner. Clearly a very important historical document.
  • $1,250
  • $1,250