1857 - The Dred Scott Decision

On March 6 the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision in the case of Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford . Scott was a Missouri slave, and Sanford (whose last name was misspelled in court papers) was a New York businessman who had custody of some family property, including Scott. In 1846 Scott had sued for freedom on the grounds that he and his previous owner, an Army surgeon, had lived in the state of Illinois and the territory of Wisconsin for several years. Slavery was illegal in both places. Read more »

Time Machine

50 Years Ago

March 20, 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of Great Britain meet in Bermuda. The purpose of the meeting is to patch up differences stemming from Britain’s seizure of the Suez Canal the previous year, which the U.S. opposed. Read more »

The Needless Conflict

If Buchanan had met the Kansas problem firmly we might have avoided civil war

When James Buchanan, standing in a homespun suit belore cheering crowds, took the oath of office on March 4, 1857, he seemed confident that the issues belore the nation could be readily settled. He spoke about an army road to California, use of the Treasury surplus to pay all the national debt, anil proper guardianship of the public lands. In Kansas, he declared, the path ahead was clear. The simple logical rule that the will of the people should determine the institutions of a territory had brought in sight a happy settlement.