First Issue of the Landmark Supreme Court Ruling on Slavery

    [Dred Scott]. Benjamin C. Howard. Report of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Opinions of the Judges Thereof, in the Case of Dred Scott versus John F. A. Sandford. December Term, 1858. Washington: Cornelius Wendell, Printer, 1857.

    First edition, first printing, Washington issue (no precedence for priority exists between the simultaneously-published Washington and New York issues). Octavo. 239 pages.

    Original printed, sewn cream wrappers. Front wrapper detached but present; lacking rear wrapper and paper covering spine. Front wrapper lightly creased and with a couple of closed tears; some foxing and staining to lower fore-edge margin. Paper loss at upper fore-edge margin to first eighteen pages; large spot of foxing to last four leaves. Some offsetting throughout, but pages are generally clean and bright. In overall very good condition.

    Report on the landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court, the culmination of an eleven-year fight in which Dred Scott, a slave residing in the free state of Missouri, sued for his freedom. The extreme ruling of the Supreme Court declared that people of African descent, whether slaves or "free," were not -- and would never be -- citizens of the United States, and as such, they were not covered by the laws of the Constitution. It also asserted that the United States had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. This ruling -- surely one of the most controversial rulings in U.S. judicial history -- inflamed the abolitionists and many in the Northern states, and it led directly to the fomentation of the Civil War. A major document in the history of the United States.

    Howes S218. Sabin 33240.

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    October, 2010
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