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From the Journal of Commerce.

THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT.- It was not to be expected, that the Abolition press would readily concur in the wisdom, justice and constitutionality of the decision recently delivered in the Supreme Court of the U.S., in the case of SCOTT v. SANFORD; but it was hardly to be supposed that journals claiming to be respectable, should so forget what is due to public decency and decorum as to assert that the solemn and deliberate judgment of the highest tribunal in the land is entitled to no more, "moral weight, than would be the judgment of a majority of those congregated in any Washington bar-room," or to impugn the honesty and purity of the great, Constitutional lawyers, who occupy the exalted position of supreme and final judges of all matters relating to the interpretation of the Constitution and the laws. We believe, however, that these indecent and contemptible calumnies will meet with no approving response beyond the limited circle of disappointed factionists, whose vocation it is to foment strife and discord, to subserve individual and selfish ends; that by the great masses of the people who prefer truth to error, light to darkness, upon important political questions, the decision will be respected and honored, and that it will be accepted as a permanent record stamped with the absolute authority of the Constitution itself.

It is now decided on authority which admits of no appeal or question, and which few will presume to dispute, that negroes whether bond or free, cannot be citizens of the United States, according to the Constitution; that is is not in the power of any one particular State, by conferring citizenship within its limits on a negro, to endow him with full citizenship in the other States of the Union, without their consent; that the ordinance of 1787 adopted by the thirteen colonies, while they formed a confederation "for mutual protection," was superseded by the present Constitution, which was not framed until after the passage of that Ordinance, and which so far from prohibiting slavery, or involuntary servitude, expressly declares that, "nothing in the Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State" with regard to the common property; that as a necessary sequence of this decision, the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, is void, and unwarranted by the Constitution, it not being in the power of Congress to draw an arbitrary line across the United States, and to declare that north of that line United States citizens are forbidden to hold slaves; that the temporary residence of a slave in a free State, does not legally render him free when he returns to a slave State, and that it is not in the power of Congress "to legislate slavery into any State or Territory, nor to exclude it therefrom," but that the Constitution vests that power in the people of the States and Territories alone, who are "perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States."

The vast and comprehensive social and political importance of this lucid and convincing judgment of the first constitutional authorities in the Republic, cannot be too highly estimated. It dissipates the mist in which we have been enveloped for years; it exposes in all their deformity, the slavery heresies by which we have been disturbed for more than half a century; it lays down, in language stripped of all sophistry or sectional bias, the relations which should exist between the States and Territories of the Union; it gives to the North, to the South, to the East, and to the West, the true chart and compass by which to steer, and it proclaims to the people that they alone have the right, at all times, and under all circumstances, to provide their own local government, to regulate their own affairs, and to decide for themselves whether they will or will not adopt domestic servitude as one of their institutions.

The people, who reverence the Constitution and the laws, and who only need to be shown the truth to adopt and obey it, will hail the decision with satisfaction, and will regard its authoritative and final settlement of grievous sectional issues as almost the greatest political boon which has been vouchsafed to us since the foundation of the Republic. The demagogues who see the fuel upon which they relied for, kindling the flames of discord and fanaticism thus snatched from their grasp, may seek to assail the illustrious judges by whom this grand exposition of constitutional rights has been promulgated; but their shafts can never reach the height which those gifted men occupy, as well by their official station, as in the veneration and respect of the people.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: The United States Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott case stated that since Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The decision also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820, legislation which restricted slavery in certain territories, unconstitutional. The pro-abolition newspapers in the North denounced the decision. However, not all northern newspapers were in favor of abolition. This article printed by the Franklin Democrat, in Greenfield, Massachusetts, commends the decision as well considered and consistant with the Constitution. The Franklin Democrat was a weekly newspaper that was published in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from 1842 to 1860.


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"The Decision of the Supreme Court" article in the Franklin Democrat newspaper

publisher   Franklin Democrat
date   Mar 16, 1857
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   10.25"
width   2.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.112

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See Also...

"The Dred Scott Case" article from the Gazette and Courier newspaper

Frederick Douglas refused passport

"The Dred Scott Case" article in the Gazette and Courier newspaper

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