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History of the Supreme Court of the United States

Volume 5. The Taney Period, 1836–64

£139.00

Part of Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States

  • Date Published: May 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521519793

£ 139.00
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  • The Taney Period, 1836–1864, by Carl B. Swisher, is the fifth volume of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States. The volume opens with Roger B. Taney's appointment as chief justice of the Court, describing the Taney Court and its personnel. Later chapters offer a comprehensive analysis of the leading constitutional issues addressed by the United States Supreme Court during this period. Swisher covers the Taney Court's decisions on commerce power, admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, the rights of corporations, patent rights and free enterprise, and legal decisions relating to slavery, including a detailed analysis of the Dred Scott decision and its aftermath. The volume ends with the close of the Taney Period, which coincided with cases and constitutional issues related to the Civil War, including Lincoln's appointments to the Supreme Court, Northern nullification, and wartime curtailment of civil rights.

    • An encyclopedic study of the Supreme Court in the Taney period
    • Places the Court's decisions within the larger (political, cultural) context of the start of the civil war and discusses significant cases such as Dred Scott
    • Volume V of The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States, printed with a new foreword by Stanley N. Katz
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This monumental study provides an arsenal of information on the decisions and related activities of the Taney court … Swisher convincingly demonstrates by example that future scholars must look beyond the banks of the Potomac to the circuit duties and decisions of the justices in order to appreciate the role of the court.' Kermit L. Hall, The Journal of American History

    'It is the great feature of Swisher's good entry in this series of books that he does not try to write a predominately constitutional history. He sees the country as a whole, and puts the Supreme Court into that context.' John P. Frank, Harvard Law Review

    'This is an encyclopedic study of the Supreme Court in the Taney years. Swisher does not limit himself to a discussion of major constitutional decisions. He describes the capabilities of court clerks, the merits of reporters, the difficulties of finding suitable lodging in Washington of the Civil War years, Justice Taney's favorite cigars, Justice Davis's arrangement with his wife as to how much liquor he could consume while away from home, congressional debates (fruitful and otherwise) concerning changing the circuits which the justices were required to ride, and the political experiences and inclinations of successful and unsuccessful nominees to the Court. All of this surfaces among the usually clear and revealing discussions of every major constitutional issue of the years 1836–1864. No one who wishes to understand the history of the Court in these years can afford to ignore this work … [Carl B. Swisher] has provided for all students of the Supreme Court an invaluable book. A sign of its great worth is that it triumphs over its assumptions.' Phillip S. Paludan, The Journal of Southern History Paludan

    'There are enormous areas of strength in Volume V, for Swisher was a thorough scholar in the areas of his particular interest. These include, particularly, the groups of cases having to do with the rights of corporations, with the commerce clause, with money and banking, with the institution of slavery, and with the extension of admiralty jurisdiction … The greatest value of the present work is in illuminating how a change in personnel and a resulting change in political viewpoint tilted the balance of power from the central government toward the states to such an extent that the Union nearly was lost.' John L. Gibbons, Columbia Law Review

    'With leisurely pace and magisterial dignity Swisher unfolds his history of the Court in all its aspects; personnel, workload, the judges and the circuits, the clerk and reporter, the impact of war and politics, and analysis of leading cases in their historical setting … Though full of detail this volume is uniformly interesting and enlightening. It will be enormously useful to laymen, lawyers, and scholars. If the other volumes measure up to this one in depth and breadth of scholarship the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise will be a fitting monument to the man who gave most of his life and fortune to the United States Government.' Harry L. Coles, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

    'Swisher's exploration of the Court's meanderings from New York v. Miln to Cooley v. Board of Wardens is masterful … All things considered – the comprehensive scope, the richness and accuracy of detail, and the sheer mastery of the material – Swisher's work will surely emerge as the standard authority on the Supreme Court under Taney. Not only does Swisher delineate constitutional issues in their full technical complexity, but he does so (no doubt because of his biographical skills) without losing sight of the Justices' diverse talents, disabilities, and quirks – their personal, often passionate, involvement in the law they made. Both law and men are treated with a balanced understanding and compassion. Weaving together human, institutional, and legal aspects, Swisher conveys the marvelous complexity and intricate texture of the Court's life and work.' Kent Newmyer, Stanford Law Review

    '[Carl B. Swisher's] grasp, judiciousness, and professional integrity are all plainly visible in The Taney Period, and his style is characteristically crisp and clear … [F]or anyone interested in the Court as a functioning institution and in the mixture of personalities constituting its membership, this is at once a book that can be read through with considerable pleasure and a useful reference work to be kept close at hand.' Don E. Fehrenbach, The University of Chicago Law Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521519793
    • length: 1066 pages
    • dimensions: 240 x 160 x 55 mm
    • weight: 1.37kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The background of the Taney Court
    2. The Taney appointment
    3. Personnel of the Taney Court
    4. The first term and the Bridge Case
    5. The realm of finance
    6. Hard times and contract obligations
    7. The scope of executive power
    8. The impact of foreign affairs
    9. Politics and personnel
    10. The judges and the circuits
    11. The expanding work load
    12. The clerk and the reporter
    13. Federal courts and the common law
    14. Fringes of the codification movement
    15. The control of commerce
    16. The continuing struggle over commerce
    17. The developing pattern of the commerce power
    18. Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction
    19. The rights of corporations
    20. Patent rights and free enterprise
    21. Political questions and judicial power
    22. Sectionalism and slavery
    23. Soil for slavery
    24. The Dred Scott case
    25. Aftermath of the Scott case
    26. The Booth cases and Northern nullification
    27. Fugitives from justice
    28. The widening breach
    29. The court on the eve of the war
    30. Property in land
    31. The wealth of El Dorado
    32. Lincoln's appointments to the court
    33. The war and the federal judges
    34. The blockade and the laws of war
    35. Wartime curtailment of civil rights
    36. Other problems from the war
    37. The end of the Taney regime.

  • Author

    Carl B. Swisher, The Johns Hopkins University
    Carl B. Swisher (1897–1968) was Thomas P. Stran Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote numerous articles and several books on constitutional history, including his authoritative biography of Andrew Jackson's chief justice, Roger B. Taney (1935); The Growth of Constitutional Power in the U.S. (1945); and Historic Decisions of the Supreme Court (1979).

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