Abraham Lincoln’s speech on the Dred Scott Case reveals the complex nature of his views on slavery and racial equality, complexity that reflected the divided national psyche. Many Americans in the broad middle rejected the Southern defense of slavery and believed that the “peculiar institution” violated basic human rights and the fundamental equality of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness promised to all in the Declaration of Independence. Read more
Lincoln argues that Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford violated America’s founding principles and rewrote American history.
June 26, 1857
…And now as to the Dred Scott decision. That decision declares two propositions–first, that a negro cannot sue in the U.S. Courts; and secondly, that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in the Territories. It was made by a divided court–dividing differently on the different points. Read more