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Sean Patrick Adams

Salmon Portland Chase was born in New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and eventually set up a successful law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. After defending the freedom of several escaped slaves in Ohio, Chase became more involved in the growing antislavery movement of the 1830s and 1840s. He first affiliated himself with the Liberty Party and attempted to shape it into more than a single-issue antislavery organization. Throughout his political career, Chase was able to hold a curious balance between political idealism and aggressive self-promotion. His performance in the 1848 convention that resulted in the formation of the Free Soil Party was a case in point Chase gained national prominence in his role as chair of the convention and proved to be an effective coalition builder Although he was not satisfied with the narrow goals of the Free Soil movement he was willing to ...

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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 ...