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Dred Scott v Sanford which Abraham Lincoln called an astonisher in legal history1 remains to this day the most famous of all American judicial decisions It was a landmark in the history of judicial review because it was the Supreme Courts first invalidation of a major federal law The decision in fact provided an early indication of the vast judicial power that could be generated if political issues were converted by definition into constitutional questions It could be maintained that Dred Scott v Sanford was used to parlay into a larger issue the Missouri Compromise for political effect I believe that this was definitely the case and judging by the evidence will seek to show that Chief Justice Taney was the instrument for this political conveyance and dissenting opinions were overlooked in favor of the political scheme at hand Furthermore the case of Dred Scott v Sanford would have remained small but innocuous except for the political machinations of Taney and other prominent figures Taney used the United States Constitution for the political benefit of the current party and ironically to bring peace to the issue of slavery Taney hoped the courts decision would settle once and for all the question of slavery in the territories Seldom in history has one man made a more dangerous miscalculation For twenty-five years the rights and wrongs of slavery had been debated both in and out of Congress with steadily growing bitterness Instead of settling the question the Supreme Courts decision on Dred Scott aroused the peoples bitterness that slaverys fate could be settled only by war The Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court in March 1857 was one of the major steps on the road to secession Dred Scott was a slave who was taken to Missouri from Virginia and sold His new master then moved to Illinois a free state and then to the free territory of Wisconsin He lived on free soil for
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