The Taney Court (1836–64)


How did the U.S. Supreme Court reject the Declaration of Independence’s “All men are created equal” principle for Scott?

Chief Justice Roger Taney reasoned that it was clear that the Founders did not believe this applied to members of the African race when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. Taney wrote that “it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration.”

Slaves reach freedom via the so-called Underground Railroad. An operator of the railroad, who harbored a slave, was sued by a slaveowner who claimed that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was constitutional. In Jones v. Van Zandt, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. Charles H. Phillips/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

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