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The hundredth anniversary of the elevation of Roger Brooke Taney to the post of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court affords a fitting occasion to review the significance of his judicial services to the nation and to American constitutional law. A re-examination of his life work in the perspective of history indicates how unwise it often is to form rigid judgments on men and events in the excitement of contemporary emotion, for the harsh opinions which Taney evoked by his decisions on the slavery question have been tempered in the detached light reason. The historical cloud under which his name rested because of his views on the constitutional issues arising out of slavery, has diverted popular though not professional attention from the distinguished judicial service he rendered country in other matters over a period of Chief traditions of the and kindly, he was vigorous and convincing in the assertion his legal positions remarkably sound and prophetic. The brilliance and vigor the Jackson Administration derived substance and spirit from the powerful mind of Taney, Jackson’s Attorney General and Secretary of the Treasury.
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constitutional law, slavery, Jefferson, Roger Brooke Taney
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