Selected Topics in Political Science: Freedom, Slavery, and the Law

Part I: State how you believe Finkelman answers his two beginning questions in Chapter 5: Was Taney’s Dred Scott opinion an aberration, a mistake by an aging, 80 year old justice? Or was that opinion a culmination of Taney’s career focused on supporting slavery and persecuting free blacks? Do you agree or disagree with Finkelman’s conclusion as you understand it? Explain in a paragraph or two why you agree or disagree.

(PLEASE REFER TO CHAPTER 5 OF Finkelman, Paul. Supreme Injustice: Slavery and the Nation’s Highest Court. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018.)

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Part II: Read Taney’s opinion for the Supreme Court in Williams v. Ash. Williams v Ash. Then type your answers to the following:
1. Describe in a paragraph or two the relevant provision in Maria Ann T. Greenfield’s will and why Taney affirmed the freedom judgment in favor of James Ash.
2. Based on all that you have read so far in this course, write two or three paragraphs stating whether you believe Taney’s decision in this case is consistent or inconsistent with his views on slavery and race as expressed in his Dred Scott opinion.

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