Roger Brooke Taney (/ˈtɔːni/; March 17, 1777 – October 12, 1864) was the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864. He also served as the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most remembered for delivering the infamous majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which included a ruling that that African-Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and whether free or slave, could not be considered citizens of the United States, thus creating an uproar among abolitionists and the free states of the northern U.S.
Taney was a Jacksonian Democrat when he became Chief Justice.[A] Taney was a believer in states' rights but also the Union, a slaveholder who manumitted his slaves. Throughout Taney’s tenure on the Supreme Court, he was a Jacksonian. He believed that power and liberty were extremely important and if power became too concentrated, then it posed a grave threat to individual liberty. He opposed attempts by the national government to regulate or control matters would restrict the rights of individuals. From Prince Frederick, Maryland, he had practiced law and politics simultaneously and succeeded in both. After abandoning the Federalist Party as a losing cause, he rose to the top of the state's Jacksonian machine. As U.S. Attorney General (1831–1833) and then Secretary of the Treasury (1833–1834), Taney became one of Andrew Jackson's closest advisers, assisting Jackson in his populist crusade against the powerful Bank of the United States.
Taney's legacy remembers him as a chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States who did much to further pro-slavery sentiment in mid-nineteenth century United States. Through his Court decisions, Taney provided Constitutional arguments..
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