Presentation on theme: "“Bids for Freedom”:Dred Scott and Racial Justice in California From Wherever There’s a Fight Understanding American Citizenship March 15, 2012."— Presentation transcript:
“Bids for Freedom”:Dred Scott and Racial Justice in California From Wherever There’s a Fight Understanding American Citizenship March 15, 2012
Focus Question: How successful were African Americans who used the U.S. judicial system as a way to gain freedom prior to the Civil War? Teaching Thesis: Since the United States was divided in the debate over slavery, the judicial system was also fractured between the North and South in the decade before the Civil War. The road to freedom through the judicial system was risky, treacherous, and not always guaranteed to African Americans seeking freedom, even if their cases were sound; consequently, freedom gained through the courts was dependent on a number of factors, including place, judges’ interpretations, and African American community networks.
Standards Students analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence Discuss the importance of the slavery issue as raised by the annexation of Texas and California's admission to the union as a free state under the Compromise of Analyze the significance of the States' Rights Doctrine, the Missouri Compromise (1820), the Wilmot Proviso (1846), the Compromise of 1850, Henry Clay's role in the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision (1857), and the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858) Identify the push-pull factors in the movement of former slaves to the cities in the North and to the West and their differing experiences in those regions (e.g., the experiences of Buffalo Soldiers) Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights Examine and analyze the key events, policies, and court cases in the evolution of civil rights, including Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, and California Proposition 209.
Historical Thinking Skills Chronological and Spatial Thinking Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned. Students analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; understand that some aspects can change while others remain the same; and understand that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics but also values and beliefs. Historical Interpretation Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments. Students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect.
Missouri Compromise (1820)
Compromise of 1850
1) California enters as free state 2) “Popular Sovereignty” decides slavery in Utah and New Mexico Territory 3) Slave Trade ends in Washington DC 4) Fugitive Slave Law
Fugitive Slave Act Legalized the pursuit of fugitive slaves in any state and required their return to owners. No statute of limitations applied (slaves who had been free for years could still be captured).
“Effects of Fugitive Slave Law” 1850
Slavery in California “We entertain several reasons why slavery should not be introduced here. First, it is wrong for it to exist anywhere. Second, not a single instance of precedence exists at present in the shape of physical bondage of our fellow men. Third, there is no excuse whatever for its introduction into this country (by virtue of climate or physical conditions). Fourth, Negroes have equal rights to life, liberty, health and happiness with the whites. Fifth, it is every individual’s duty, to self and to society, to be occupied in useful employment sufficient to gain self-support. Sixth, it would be the greatest calamity that the power of the United States could inflict upon California. Seventh, we desire only a white population in California. Eighth, we left the slave states because we did not like to bring up a family in a miserable, can’t-help-one’s-self condition. Ninth, in conclusion we dearly love the ‘Union,’ but declare our positive preference for an independent condition of California to the establishment of any degree of slavery, or even the importation of free blacks.” The Californian of March 15, 1848
How did African Americans fight for freedom before the Civil War? Petitions Autobiographies Ran Away Newspapers Underground Railroad Courts
What is the role of the courts? (Checks and Balances)
Key Vocabulary Habeas Corpus: Latin: ("may you have [your] body") is a legal action by which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. Jurisdiction: range of law enforcement or authority. Fifth amendment: "No person shall be ….deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Due process of law: is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the rights that are owed to a person.
Petition to increase the rights of African Americans in California, 1852.
Conclusions “Since the United States was divided in the debate over slavery, the judicial system was also fractured between the North and South in the decade before the Civil War. The road to freedom through the judicial system was risky, treacherous, and not always guaranteed to African Americans seeking freedom, even if their cases were sound; consequently, freedom gained through the courts was dependent on a number of factors, including place, judges’ interpretations, and African American community networks.”