Russell and Duenes

Frederick Douglass’s Response to the Dred Scott Decision

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For my Constitutional History class, we are now reading articles about the Dred Scott decision, and one of the authors, Paul Finkelman, reproduced Frederick Douglass’s response to the decision. I thought it worth passing along.

“The Supreme Court of the United States is not the only power in this world. It is very great, but the Supreme Court of the Almighty is greater. Judge Taney can do many things, but he cannot perform impossibilities. He cannot bale out the ocean, annihilate this firm old earth, or pluck the silvery star of liberty from our Northern sky. He may decide and decide again; but he cannot reverse the decision of the Most High. He cannot change the essential nature of things–making evil good, and good, evil.”

Paul Finkelman, The Dred Scott Case, Slavery and the Politics of Law, 20 Hamline L. Rev. 1, 40 (1996)



Written by Michael Duenes

February 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

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