The Taney Court (1836–64)


In what infamous decision did the Supreme Court regard blacks as mere slaves?

The Taney Court issued the most criticized decision in U.S. Supreme Court history when it ruled in Scott v. Sandford (1857) that former slave Dred Scott was not free even when he was residing in free territory. Taney referred to African Americans as “that unfortunate race” who were “so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Some historians have even cited the decision as one of the catalysts for the horrific Civil War.


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