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University, Court, and SlaveProslavery Academic Thought and Southern Jurisprudence, 1831–1861$
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Alfred L. Brophy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964239.001.0001

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“The dictate of a wise policy”

“The dictate of a wise policy”

Judicial Opposition to Freedom

(p.254) 11 “The dictate of a wise policy”
University, Court, and Slave

Alfred L. Brophy

Oxford University Press

A theme of this book is the centrality of considerations of utility to southern judges, particularly in slavery cases. This chapter turns to two areas of law—emancipation of slaves at death and the transportation of slaves to free states and territories as a basis for claims to freedom—to see how judges blended precedent and considerations of utility. The famous 1857 Supreme Court case of Dred Scott was one of those cases dealing with transportation to a free territory; there were many others. The law correlated with the increasingly proslavery attitudes of southern politicians and voters. Even the extrajudicial writing of judges, such as Justice John A. Campbell, of the U.S. Supreme Court, reflected the increasing support for slavery. By the election of Lincoln, Southerners were primed for a robust defense of property rights in humans based on history and on economic considerations. Their defense was legitimized by southern judges and academics.

Keywords:   emancipation, Dred Scott v. Sandford, John Archibald Campbell, proslavery thought, proslavery jurisprudence

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