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In Their Own Words

March 31, 1857

Editorial on Dred Scott Decision

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, the Milledgeville Federal Union responded with the following editorial:

“The late decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Dred Scott case, will bring the enemies of the South face to face with the Constitution of their country. They cannot escape the issue presented - the observance of the laws of the land, or disunion. They can no longer dodge under such pretexts as “bleeding Kansas.” That harp of one string has played its last tune, and must now be hung up. Or, if continued to be used by the reverends Henry Ward Beecher and Theodore Parker, it will not call forth the responses it was wont to do in the flush times of “bleeding Kansas.” Many of the followers of these infidel preachers are not the fools or fanatics their conduct would seem to indicate. They acted upon principle, many of them, in their opposition to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; and their zeal for free Kansas was excited to the highest pitch, by the lying agents of the Free State Party. But it is a quite different question now. The leaders of the Black Republican Party are denouncing the decision of the very Tribunal to which they had appealed, and are endeavoring to excite among the people of the North a bitter hostility to it. They will endeavor to organize a party on the basis of opposition to the decision of the majority of the Court in the Dred Scott case. But as fanatical as the people of New England are, they will hesitate to enter the ranks of a political party, organized for the express purpose of overturning a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. Some of our Southern editors depreciate the agitation to which this decision will give rise. But let it come. The fury of the storm has passed. The treasonable conduct of the leaders of the Black Republican party will be rebuked at their very doors. The issue they have raised will be met by the true-hearted, Constitutional, law-abiding men of the North, and thousands who followed Fremont and “bleeding Kansas,” will find themselves allied with the Union men of the country, in sustaining the determination of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case.”

Source: Milledgeville Federal Union, March 31, 1857.