Essay on Civil War

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Abraham Lincoln once stated, "A House divided against itself cannot stand. I Believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall. But I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other". More than anything else, differing interpretations about the Civil War drove the debate over the meaning of the Constitution and of the Union. These were, of course, not new issues. Indeed, as Professor Joseph Ellis has noted in Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation both had been on the minds of the delegates to Philadelphia in 1787. And, significantly, they were considered so controversial that neither the word "slavery" nor the word "nation" …show more content…

Unfortunately, the court was involving itself in a highly volatile political situation when they ruled 7-2 against Scott's claim. Nevertheless, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney's decision was the one on record with him holding the majority vote against Scott. On the basic issue of Scott's freedom, the Court agreed with the lower courts' determination that Scott was neither a citizen of the state or the U.S. nation, and therefore could not bring a suit before a court ("We the People" 119). The reaction to Taney's ruling was predictable: The South celebrated, praising that the Constitutional guarantees of property (described in the 5th Amendment) were clearly defined once and for all. No governmental body had the authority to restrict the movement of slaves, who had been declared inviolable property by the highest court of the land (Irons 182). The North condemned the ruling, describing it as a politically motivated act by a Pro-Southern Supreme Court. The Court seemed to ignore that the Constitution also spoke of guarantees to freedom in the same sentence that it guaranteed property in the 5th Amendment (Ward 34). This lead to the even bigger argument on why the North and South had many different views on the issue of slavery. The Dred Scott decision was more than the Northerners could take, so they declared that they would not obey the court. This is the first instance of "Massive Resistance" to a Supreme Court decision up to that point (Oxford 454). After this

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