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Authors: Pierse, A.
Date: March 31, 1857
A. Pierse wrote from Washington, D.C. to Eli Thayer in Worcester, Massachusetts. Pierse was born in North Carolina and lived most of his life in the South but had been living in Minnesota Territory for the past seven years. He told Thayer that he planned to move to Kansas in the spring of 1857. Pierse offered Thayer his opinion on what free state supporters should do in Kansas Territory. He informed Thayer that, although he had "Southern opinions on the subject of slavery" and believed the federal government had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories, he was "without prejudice for or against either side" in the debate over slavery in Kansas Territory. Pierse suggested that the best course for free staters to take would be to accept the Dred Scott decision, actively participate in the political process in Kansas Territory, and work for the admission of Kansas as a state with or without slavery. Once Kansas was admitted, he contended, free state supporters would be on firmer legal ground to advocate for the prohibition of slavery, since it was generally accepted that "the people have the power to prohibit slavery in their state." He concluded by stating that once Kansas was a state, free staters could make the case that property would be worth 3 or 4 times more if slavery was prohibited in the state.
Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Dred Scott decision; Free state prospects; Pierse, A.; Proslavery perspective; Slavery; Southern emigrants; Southerners; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899
Letter, [E. B. Whitman?] to [Franklin B.] Sanborn
Authors: Whitman, E. B.
Date: May 10, 1857
E. B. Whitman (letter not signed, but author's identity is pretty clear), an agent in Lawrence for the National Kansas Committee, wrote Franklin Sanborn in Massachusetts regarding his disappointment with the lack of support being given by "our professed friends" in the East. To their discredit, according to Whitman, Massachusetts "supporters" had refused to provide assistance which was desperately needed for the Kansas settlers who had just endured a very "severe winter." He believed false information was being circulated for political purposes by individuals within the Free State movement: "Kansas, bleeding Kansas, is of value to them only so far as it subserves their selfish ends."
Keywords: Dred Scott decision; Free state cause; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Free state settlers; Free state supporters; Land claims; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Massachusetts; Massachusetts State Kansas Committee; National Kansas Committee; Relief funds; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Settlement; Vermont; Whitman, E. B.
Article, "History, as Espounded by the Supreme Court"
Authors: Plumb, Preston B.
Date: June 6, 1857
This article was printed in the very first edition of the Kanzas News, edited by Preston Plumb and printed in Emporia, Kansas Territory. It included excerpts taken from the May edition of Putnam's Monthly. The article documented the reaction of free soilers to the Dred Scott decision, which was passed by the Supreme Court in March 1857. Since he had lived on free soil for several years, Dred Scott had sued his master in an attempt to gain his freedom. However, the court determined that Dred Scott, and other slaves, were not legal citizens of the United States and therefore could not sue the government. As a result, Scott would remain a slave until his master voluntarily freed him shortly thereafter. This decision also annulled the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Keywords: African Americans; Antislavery perspective; Dred Scott decision; Emporia, Kansas Territory; Newspapers; Plumb, Preston B., 1837-1891; Scott, Dred; Slavery; Slaves; Taney, Roger B.; United States Government; United States. Constitution; United States. Supreme Court
Letter, J. Thompson to My Dear [James W.] Denver
Authors: Doniphan, J.
Date: January 29, 1858
J. Thompson wrote to James W. Denver from the U. S. Department of the Interior regarding the current debate over the Lecompton Constitution. Thompson advised Denver to stand his ground in support of it, regardless of what the President might say; "to turn aside now is downright weakness" and a show of cowardice. Thompson's opinion was that a Territorial decision to abolish slavery would be against the Dred Scott decision, and therefore unconstitutional.
Keywords: Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Calhoun, John; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Doniphan, J.; Dred Scott decision; Elmore, Rush; Indian Affairs, Commissioner of; Lecompton Constitution; National politics; Proslavery perspective; United States. Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Speech of Hon. Reuben E. Fenton of New York, "The Designs of the Slave Power"
Authors: Fenton, Reuben E.
Date: February 24, 1858
Representative Reuben Fenton, of New York, delivered this speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, in reaction to the Congressional debate over the validity of the Lecompton Constitution. Believing that the repeal of the Missouri Compromise was a mistake, meant to allow the extension of slavery into the new territories, Fenton emphasized that their forefathers recognized that slavery and anti-slavery men could not coexist. Thus, under the authority outlined in the Constitution, slavery in all Territories should be abolished, in line with the Federal Government's duty to "install a government [in the Territories] conducive to the greatest degree of happiness and welfare" of its residents. Fenton did not believe that the Lecompton Constitution represented the will of Kansas' citizens, insisting that the majority, as free state supporters, were proposing no challenge to the Government constructed by the founding fathers.
Keywords: Antislavery perspective; Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Dred Scott decision; Fenton, Reuben E.; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Lecompton Constitution; Missouri compromise; New York; Popular sovereignty; Slavery; Speeches, addresses, etc.
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