Essay about The 4th of July vs. Justice Taney in Dred Scott Ruling

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The 4th of July vs. Justice Taney in Dred Scott Ruling In the years leading to the U.S. Civil War, the controversy over slavery became not only a social issue, but also a political and legal one as well. Opponents and proponents of slavery each looked to the American constitution, as well as the prevailing culture of the time, for direction in dealing with this matter. Two such people who based their landmark works on this were Justine Taney of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Frederick Douglas, an emancipated slave, who fought tirelessly for the abolishment of slavery. In 1852, Frederick Douglas was asked to speak at a July 4th celebration. In his speech, he made it known clearly, his detestment for the…show more content…
He likened this to the analogy of rivers, which, he said, were like nations. Even though a river can not be turned aside, "it may dry up". If a nation "dries up", there will be nohing left of that nation, except a "withered branch". This withered branch is a symbol of what the nation believed in and what could happen to it if it unfairly cast aside certain members of its society. Douglas also pointed out that the Declaration of Independence was one of the most valuable factors in the Nation's destiny. The principles written in the Declaration of Independence should be kept and adhered to. "Be true to to them on all occasions", wrote Douglas. He believed that most documents that were written after the Declaration of Independence didn't follow the significant ideology set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Douglas wants to use the Constitution, but without the pro-slavery clause in it. In stark contrast to this, Justice Taney, who wrote the majority opinion of the court in the case of Dred Scott V. Sandford, dealt a major blow to the work of Frederick Douglas. In his opinion, Justice Taney uses the same reference points as Frederick Douglas, only to twist it, and give it a pro-slavery slant. Like Frederick Douglas, Justice Taney too makes mention of the Declaration of Independence, but in this case, to prove that blacks were never intended to maintain full legal

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