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Slavery and the Supreme Court, 1825-1861 Hardcover – November 3, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A highly readable, useful, and bound-to-be controversial book." --Civil War Book Review

"An admirable guide to a period of judicial history when men, women, and children were property." --Choice

From the Back Cover

"This is legal history as it should be: dispassionate, doctrinally sophisticated, and deeply rooted in political context. It will become the standard against which are measured all other studies of the High Court's slavery cases."--Peter Charles Hoffer, coauthor of The Supreme Court: An Essential History

"Maltz sensitively combines legal analysis with attention to the political environment in which the Court operated. Everyone interested in antebellum law and politics will profit from his work."--Mark Tushnet, author of Slave Law in the American South

"A concise, understandable, and insightful overview."--Michael Les Benedict, author of The Blessings of History: A Concise History of the Constitution of the United States

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700616667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700616664
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Given a choice of spending an afternoon reading legal history or in the dentist's chair, many would have to think which would be worse. I approached this as an important book in understanding the Civil War and a necessary read. I expected a dull heavy tome, stuffed with legalize designed to cure insomnia.
This book meets none of my expectations.
It is not dull. We look at each case in the historical and legal context of the times. The author never loses sight of the political, legal and personal considerations that matter so much in history. This is a well-written look at the eight major cases involving slavery the Marshall and Taney Court considered. When we reach the decision, we understand the forces involved and how they pulled the court. The author provides excellent word portraits of each man, how he reaches the Court and his politics.
It is not stuffed with legalize. The author uses the minimum legalize possible. He takes the time to cover the meaning of the term as used at the time. This keeps the reader current and makes for very little "huh?"
It will not cure insomnia. This is not the same as reading about Pickett's Charge but it moves and kept my attention. This is legal history made interesting and enjoyable.
Slavery caused few legal problems until some states emancipated the slaves. As America divided into Slave State or Free State, legal problems multiplied. These problems come to the Supreme Court with greater frequency as war comes closer. The relationship of the states and the federal government, status of slaves and questions involving free persons of color are major questions. The Court tries to settle these questions as the opportunity arise. The author takes the time to cover each legal question.
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