Articles 1 - 2 of 2
Full-Text Articles in Law and Race
An "Unintended Consequence": Dred Scott Reinterpreted, Sam Erman
Michigan Law Review
Austin Allen's monograph marks the 150th anniversary of the decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford with a revisionist interpretation of that oft-examined case. Many scholars have portrayed the case as a proslavery decision that fanned sectional fires. After all, the Court held that blacks were not U.S. citizens and that Congress was impotent to bar slavery in U.S. territories. Allen, by contrast, understands the case primarily as a judicial attempt to rationalize federal commerce and slavery jurisprudences. Part I argues that this ambitious reinterpretation enriches, but does not topple, existing Dred Scott historiography. In the case of ...
Public Rights, Social Equality, And The Conceptual Roots Of The Plessy Challenge, Rebecca J. Scott
This Article argues that the test case that gave rise to the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson is best understood as part of a wellestablished, cosmopolitan tradition of anticaste activism in Louisiana rather than as a quixotic effort that contradicted nineteenth-century ideas of the boundaries of citizens' rights. By drawing a dividing line between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social rights, on the other, the Supreme Court construed challenges to segregation as claims to a "social equality" that was beyond the scope of judicially cognizable rights. The Louisiana constitutional convention of 1867-68, however, had defined ...