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Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers (Simon & Schuster Lincoln Library) Paperback – November 20, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is cast in the form of a dual biography. Taney's life is much less well-known than Lincoln's and Simon provides valuable biographical insight. Simon points out Taney freed his own slaves and disliked slavery, but that, as Attorney General for President Jackson, Taney wrote a legal memorandum foreshadowing the conclusions he would later reach in the notorious Dred Scott decision. In fact, prior to Dred Scott, Taney was a highly regarded jurist, respected for his legal acumen, thoroughness, and balance.
The book focuses on Lincoln and Taney's respective views on slavery, secession, and the conduct of the Civil War. Simon offers a valuable discussion of the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on slavery before the Dred Scott case and he describes well the process the Court used in reaching its fateful decision in Dred Scott -- generally regarded as the worst moment in the history of the Court.Read more ›
Primarily it's the story of two men rising to the top of their professions amid the ever-present and explosive issue of slavery that ripped apart a still-expanding young nation. But there is much more going on and he lays it out magnificently. Simon details how slavery was always the major issue between slave states and free states, among many other important issues. The description of the institution of slavery, the treatment of blacks, and the central role of the courts in this time period is a very sad, abhorrent chapter in our nation's history. Mr Simon has done the uninitiated reader a favor with his detailed background work on all of the issues and personalities involved.
President Abraham Lincoln and United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, both tall, imposing, God-fearing figures, bitterly opposed each other on three important points: slavery, secession, and President "Lincoln's constitutional authority during the Civil War". And the broad tapestry of this book includes all of the major players of that era: John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, John Marshall, James Knox Polk, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Buchanan, Salmon Chase, and the ubiquitous "triumvirate" of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun, among many more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent account of the damage done by a capable dispassionate judge who lost it and turned crusader for slavery and the rebel states.Published 9 months ago by Peter Samuel
Great history of Lincoln and the much disliked Chief Justice Taney.Published 14 months ago by double d
Excellent book. Provided great factual insight into the Civil War and Lincoln's violations of the Constitution as well as Taney's failure to avoid committing the unpardonable sin... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eric
A worthwhile read for anyone interested in how a sitting President can fundamentally transform a nation without the consent of the governed. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael Chatfield
James Simon's Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney is a wonderful look at a complex and little known but powerful American, Chief Justice Robert Taney. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Laurence R. Bachmann
Lincoln and Taney were publicly on opposite sides of almost every issue. But privately they agonized over the rightness of their positions, the trade-offs implicit, and the... Read morePublished on April 20, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Excellent balanced presentation. I feared legalese and did not find any. It was a pleasant read. The issues were complex, but Simon stated the positions with clarity.Published on January 24, 2014 by Harrington
this is a great intro into Chief Justice Taney hitting his significant cases. The chapter on Dred Scott is thorough and easily readable. Read morePublished on December 7, 2013 by Joshua Rohrer