Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford African American Studies Center. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 October 2020

Taney, Roger B. locked

(b. 17 March 1777; d. 12 October 1864), lawyer, politician, U.S. attorney general, and chief justice of the United States.
  • Kevin R. Gutzman


Roger Brooke Taney is generally considered to be both one of the great American judges and one of the leading opponents of African Americans in history. Don E. Fehrenbacher, historian of the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, regards Taney's opinion in that case as the logical extension of the principles announced by Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803), a case establishing that the “essence of judicial duty” is to decide which laws conform to the Constitution. One Taney biographer opines that Taney, in his opinions, presented the most coherent elaboration of Jacksonian democracy. All of these characterizations are well deserved.

Born into a prominent Maryland Catholic family Taney early demonstrated outstanding academic ability by graduating from Dickinson College at age eighteen Having completed the four year course of study in three years Taney was his class s elected valedictorian Because his father ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription