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Resources for Educators

Links | Books | Articles


The following web resources include extensive primary source document collections as well as carefully developed classroom plans on how to use them.

The Missouri Bar    Resources for educators
St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project   The full text database of nearly three hundred digitized case files of St. Louis freedom suits
Missouri Digital Heritage   Missouri Archives website on the Dred Scott case
Missouri Digital Heritage   Lesson plans and glossary of terms, with primary source documents by the Missouri State Archives
Primary Documents in American History  Primary source documents from the Library of Congress
Learning Page from the Library of Congress  “Slaves and the Courts”
Landmark Supreme Court Cases   Documents and classroom activities based on primary source documents, developed by “Street Law” and the Supreme Court Historical Society for the “” project
The Dred Scott Trial  A play based on trial transcripts of the case, by staff at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Old Courthouse site
The Freeman Institute   Abraham Lincoln's speech on the Dred Scott Decision
Digital History  Documents and classroom resources
Abraham Lincoln on the Dred Scott Decision   Lincoln's speech on the case, with links and classroom projects
Dred Scott Decision   Questions and areas of inquiry, for grades 7-9, from
Secession Era Editorials Project  Editorial reaction to the decision, compiled by Furman University
Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project  The legal arguments presented for student discussion and debate
Cooper Union Address   Abraham Lincoln’s address asserting the Founders’ belief in federal authority over slavery in the territories
St. Louis Public Library  Documentary resources at the SLPL
St. Louis Mercantile Library  Resources on African American images and many other resources
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History   Resources in American History for teachers and students
The Emancipation Proclamation
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?   Frederick Douglass' speech from 5 July 1852
13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution  The amendment that abolished slavery in the United States
14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution  Expanded civil rights for all Americans, including recently freed slaves
15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution  Amendment that granted African-American men the right to vote
African-American History  Digital narrative images from the American South Workshop
Freedmen And Southern Society Project  Depicts emancipation in the words of the participants

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The following is a bibliography of the most pertinent and useful scholarship on the Dred Scott case. These books and articles provide the background and analysis of the major issues in the case and the debates around them, both then and now.

Paul Angle, Created Equal? The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (1958)

Austin Allen, Origins of the Dred Scott Case. Jacksonian Jurisprudence and the Supreme Court, 1837-1857 (2006)

Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin, Rude Republic: Americans and their Politics in the Nineteenth Century (2000)

John Ashworth, Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic. Vol I, Commerce and Compromise, 1820-1850 (1995).

Michael Les Benedict, The Blessings of Liberty: A Concise History of the Constitution of the United States, 2d ed. (2006).

R. J. M. Blackett, Building an Antislavery Wall. Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement (1983)

Dennis Boman, Lincoln's Resolute Unionist: Hamilton Gamble, Dred Scott Dissenter and Missouri's Civil War Governor (2006)

Mark E. Brandon, Free in the World: American Slavery and Constitutional Failure (1998)

Robert M. Cover, Justice Accused: Antislavery and the Judicial Process (1975)

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (1975)

David Brion Davis, Slavery and Human Progress (1984)

David Brion Davis, Challenging the Boundaries of Slavery (2003)

Thomas C. Buchanan, Black Life on the Mississippi. Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World (2004)

Robert M. Cover, Justice Accused. Antislavery and the Judicial Process (1975)

Steven Deyle, Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (2005)

Davison M. Douglas, Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle Over Northern School Segregation, 1865-1954 (2005)

Walter Ehrlich, They Have No Rights: Dred Scott’s Struggle for Freedom (1979)

Garrett Epps, Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America (2006)

Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Dred Scott Case. Its Significance in American Law and Politics (1978). [Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this definitive 595-page study of the case and its many contexts has been abridged as Slavery, Law, and Politics. The Dred Scott Case in Historical Perspective (1981)]

Paul Finkelman, Dred Scott v. Sandford. A Brief History with Documents (New York, 1997)

Paul Finkelman, An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity (1981)

Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, and Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (1970)

Harriet C. Frazier, Runaway and Freed Missouri Slaves and Those Who Helped Them (2004)

George M. Fredrickson, The Arrogance of Race: Historical perspectives on Slavery, Racism, and Social Inequality (1988)

Eugene D. Genovese, The Slaveholders’ Dilemma: Freedom and Progress in Southern Conservative Thought, 1820-1860 (1992)

Robert P. George, ed., Great Cases in Constitutional Law (2000)

Mark A. Graber, Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil (2006)

Richard Allen Heckman, Lincoln v. Douglas: The Great Debates (1967)

A.Leon Higginbotham, Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process (1996)

Michael F. Holt, The Political Crisis of the 1850’s (1978)

Vincent Charles Hopkins, Dred Scott’s Case (1971)

Harold M. Hyman and William M. Wiecek, Equal Justice Under Law: Constitutional Development, 1835-1875 (1982)

Harry V. Jaffa, Crisis in the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1959)

Kenneth C. Kaufman, Dred Scott’s Advocate: A Biography of Roswell M. Field (1996)

James H. Kettner, The Development of American Citizenship, 1608-1870 (1978)

Stanley I. Kutler, ed., The Dred Scott Decision: Law or Politics? (1967)

Earl M. Maltz, Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery (2007)

Steven Mintz and John Stauffer, eds., The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, and the Ambiguities of American Reform (2007)

Thomas D. Morris, Free Men All: The Personal Liberty Laws of the North, 1780-1861 (1974)

David M. Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976)

Donald M. Robinson, Slavery in the Structure of American Politics, 1765-1820 (1971)

James Simon, Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney. Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers (New York, 2006)

Kennth M. Stampp, America in 1857. A Nation on the Brink (1990)

Alexander Tsesis, The Thirteenth Amendment and American Freedom: A Legal History (New York, 2004)

Mark V. Tushnet, The American Law of Slavery 1810-1860. Considerations of Humanity and Interest (1981)

William M. Wiecek, The Sources of Antislavery Constitutionalism in America, 1760-1848 (1977)

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Austin Allen, “The Political Economy of Blackness: Citizenship, Corporations, and Race in Dred Scott,” Civil War History, 50 (2004).

Arthur Bestor, “State Sovereignty and Slavery: A Reinterpretation of Proslavery Constitutional Doctrine, 1846-1860,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 54 (1961): 117-80.

A. Christopher Bryant, “The Pro-Slavery and `Irrevocable’ Thirteenth Amendment,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 26 (2003).

Robert Cottroll, “Liberalism and Paternalism: Ideology, Economic Interest, and the Business Law of Slavery,” American Journal of Legal History, 31 (1987): 359-73.

Eric T. Dean, Jr., “Reassessing Dred Scott: The Possibilities of Federal Power in the Antebellum Context,” University of Cincinnati Law Review, 60 (1992): 713-55.

Walter Ehrlich, “Was the Dred Scott Case Valid?” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 55 (1968): 256-65.

Paul Finkelman, “The Dred Scott Case, Slavery, and the Politics of Law,” Hamline Law Review, 20 (1996): 1-42.

Mark A. Graber, “Desperately Ducking Slavery: Dred Scott and Contemporary Constitutional Theory,” Constitutional Commentary, 14 (1997).

Dana Hess and Anand Marri, “Which Cases Should We Teach?” Social Education, 6 (2002).

Mark W. Janis, “Dred Scott and International Law,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 43 (2005): 763-810. Stanley N. Katz, “The Strange Birth and Unlikely History of Constitutional Equality,” Journal of American History, 75 (1988).

David Thomas Konig, “The Long Road to Dred Scott: Personhood and the Rule of Law in the Trial Court Records of St. Louis Slave Freedom Suits,” University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review, 75 (2006): 53-79.

Earl M. Maltz, “The Unlikely Hero of Dred Scott: Benjamin R. Curtis and the Constitutional Law of Slavery,” Cardozo Law Review, 17 (1996): 1995-2016.

Robert Meister, “The Logic and Legacy of Dred Scott: Marshall, Taney, and the Sublimation of Republican Thought,” Studies in American Political Development, 3 (1989): 199-260.

James P. McClure, Leigh Johnsen, Kathleen Norman, and Michael Vanderlan, “Circumventing the Dred Scott Decision: Edward Bates, Salmon P. Chase, and the Citizenship of Afro-Americans,” Civil War History, 43 (1997).

E. I. McCormac, “Justice Campbell and the Dred Scott Decision,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 19 (1933): 565-71.

Robert Meister, “The Logic and Legacy of Dred Scott: Marshall, Taney, and the Sublimation of Republican Thought,” Studies in American Political Development, 3 (1989): 199-260.

Louis H. Pollak, “Race, Law, and History: The Supreme Court from 'Dred Scott' to Grutter v. Bolinger,'” Daedalus, 134 (2005).

Emily Sherwin, “Ducking Dred Scott: A Response to Alexander and Schauer,” Constitutional Commentary, 15 (1998).

Stuart A. Streichler, “Justice Curtis’s Dissent in the Dred Scott Case: An Interpretive Study,” Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 24 (1997): 509-44.

Lea VanderVelde and Sandhya Subramanian, “Mrs. Dred Scott,” Yale Law Journal, 106 (1997): 1033-1117.

Louise Weinberg, “Methodological Intervention and the Slavery Cases: or, Night-Thoughts of a Legal Realist,” University of Maryland Law Review, 56 (1997): 1316-70.

Joshua Michael Zeitz, “The Missouri Compromise Reconsidered: Antislavery Rhetoric and the Emergence of the Free Labor Synthesis,” Journal of the Early Republic, 20 (2000): 447-85.

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