Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott

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9780199927296: Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott

The Dred Scott case is the most notorious example of slaves suing for freedom. Most examinations of the case focus on its notorious verdict, and the repercussions that the decision set off-especially the worsening of the sectional crisis that would eventually lead to the Civil War-were extreme. In conventional assessment, a slave losing a lawsuit against his master seems unremarkable. But in fact, that case was just one of many freedom suits brought by slaves in the antebellum period; an example of slaves working within the confines of the U.S. legal system (and defying their masters in the process) in an attempt to win the ultimate prize: their freedom. And until Dred Scott, the St. Louis courts adhered to the rule of law to serve justice by recognizing the legal rights of the least well-off.

For over a decade, legal scholar Lea VanderVelde has been building and examining a collection of more than 300 newly discovered freedom suits in St. Louis. In Redemption Songs, VanderVelde describes twelve of these never-before analyzed cases in close detail. Through these remarkable accounts, she takes readers beyond the narrative of the Dred Scott case to weave a diverse tapestry of freedom suits and slave lives on the frontier. By grounding this research in St. Louis, a city defined by the Antebellum frontier, VanderVelde reveals the unique circumstances surrounding the institution of slavery in westward expansion. Her investigation shows the enormous degree of variation among the individual litigants in the lives that lead to their decision to file suit for freedom. Although Dred Scott's loss is the most widely remembered, over 100 of the 300 St. Louis cases that went to court resulted in the plaintiff's emancipation.

Beyond the successful outcomes, the very existence of these freedom suits helped to reshape the parameters of American slavery in the nation's expansion. Thanks to VanderVelde's thorough and original research, we can hear for the first time the vivid stories of a seemingly powerless group who chose to use a legal system that was so often arrayed against them in their fight for freedom from slavery.

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Lea VanderVelde is Professor of Law at the University of Iowa and author of Mrs. Dred Scott.

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VanderVelde, Lea
Published by Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0199927294 ISBN 13: 9780199927296
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Dred Scott v. Sanford is the most famous-and also the most infamous-Supreme Court decision in American history. Justice Roger Taney s ruling in favor of Scott s owner effectively extended the reach of the slave system far beyond the South, and was instrumental in worsening the sectional crisis. While the decision was disastrous, what is often overlooked is the fact that in certain circumstances slaves could avail themselves of the legal system. As it turns out, Scott was one among many slave litigants who took to the courts and in so doing helped reshape the parameters of American slavery. In Redemption Songs, Lea VanderVelde moves far beyond the Scott case through chapter-length accounts of a dozen slave suits in the state of Missouri. VanderVelde covers the Scott case, but casts it in relief against a wide variety of trials involving slave litigants. In one instance, an owner freed his slaves, but they were seized by the owner s creditors. Were they free or not? Another case revolved around the fact that the litigant had Native American as well as black ancestors. Which ancestry was decisive? Another dispute involved a Mississippi owner s will, which included only vague instructions to manumit his slaves into Illinois. In combination, the stories behind the cases provide a genuinely multifaceted portrait of slavery in late antebellum America. While hundreds of books have been written about slavery, in the main they tend to be either microhistories of individual slaves and slave families or broad social histories of the peculiar institution. Redemption Songs uniquely features both approaches. VanderVelde not only knits together the stories of a dozen distinct individuals with one thing in common-their status as litigants-and little else, she also provides a rich and eye-opening account of the legal foundations of the larger system. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how the system operated and how slaves attempted to navigate through it in the most trying of circumstances. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780199927296

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VanderVelde, Lea
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Book Description Oxford. 1 Cloth(s), 2014. hard. Book Condition: New. While the 1857 Dred Scott case is by far the best known example of a slave suing for freedom—a case made all the more notorious by the Supreme Court decision against him—it was not a unique occurrence. In researching Scott, Lea VanderVelde uncovered 300 earlier cases in St. Louis alone, presenting detailed overviews of 12 of them in this history. Remarkably, slaves often did win their freedom, demonstrating that powerless people could prevail through the use of a legal system that was so often set against them. VanderVelde also discusses the significance of Missouri as a frontier state, whose stance on such legal proceedings anticipated whether slavery would be part of America's westward expansion. 305. Bookseller Inventory # 63972

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0199927294 New. Bookseller Inventory # Z0199927294ZN

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VanderVelde, Lea
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Dred Scott v. Sanford is the most famous-and also the most infamous-Supreme Court decision in American history. Justice Roger Taney s ruling in favor of Scott s owner effectively extended the reach of the slave system far beyond the South, and was instrumental in worsening the sectional crisis. While the decision was disastrous, what is often overlooked is the fact that in certain circumstances slaves could avail themselves of the legal system. As it turns out, Scott was one among many slave litigants who took to the courts and in so doing helped reshape the parameters of American slavery. In Redemption Songs, Lea VanderVelde moves far beyond the Scott case through chapter-length accounts of a dozen slave suits in the state of Missouri. VanderVelde covers the Scott case, but casts it in relief against a wide variety of trials involving slave litigants. In one instance, an owner freed his slaves, but they were seized by the owner s creditors. Were they free or not? Another case revolved around the fact that the litigant had Native American as well as black ancestors. Which ancestry was decisive? Another dispute involved a Mississippi owner s will, which included only vague instructions to manumit his slaves into Illinois. In combination, the stories behind the cases provide a genuinely multifaceted portrait of slavery in late antebellum America. While hundreds of books have been written about slavery, in the main they tend to be either microhistories of individual slaves and slave families or broad social histories of the peculiar institution. Redemption Songs uniquely features both approaches. VanderVelde not only knits together the stories of a dozen distinct individuals with one thing in common-their status as litigants-and little else, she also provides a rich and eye-opening account of the legal foundations of the larger system. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how the system operated and how slaves attempted to navigate through it in the most trying of circumstances. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780199927296

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0199927294

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Book Description Oxford University Press, U.S.A., 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. The Dred Scott case is the most notorious example of slaves suing for freedom. Most examinations of the case focus on its infamous verdict, and how it worsened the sectional crisis that eventually led to the Civil War. In conventional understanding, a slave losing a lawsuit against his master seems unremarkable. But in fact, that case was just one of many freedom suits brought by slaves in the antebellum period, just one example of slaves working within the confines of the U.S. legal system (and defying their masters in the process) in an attempt to win the ultimate prize: their freedom. And until Dred Scott, the St. Louis courts recognized the legal rights of the most oppressed members of society and declared many slaves free. For over a decade, legal historian Lea VanderVelde has been building and analyzing a collection of more than 300 newly discovered freedom suits in St. Louis. In Redemption Songs, she describes twelve of these never-before examined cases in close detail. Through these remarkable accounts, she takes readers beyond the conventional to weave a diverse tapestry of freedom suits and slave families' lives on the American frontier. From these court proceedings in St. Louis, a city defined by the antebellum frontier, VanderVelde reveals the unique circumstances surrounding the institution of slavery in westward expansion. Her investigation shows the wide variation of circumstances that led African-Americans held in bondage to file suit for freedom. Dred Scott's catastrophic loss at the United States Supreme Court actually ended a succession of slave lawsuits recognizing the plaintiff's right to freedom. Beyond the successful outcomes, the very existence of these freedom suits helped to reshape the parameters of American slavery in the nation's expansion. Thanks to VanderVelde's thorough and original research, we can hear for the first time the vivid stories of a seemingly powerless group who used a legal system that was so often arrayed against them in their fight for freedom from slavery. Oxford University Press, Hardcover, 1st Edition, 2014 This is a BRAND NEW book. Bookseller Inventory # 000026

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom Before Dred Scott, Lea Vandervelde, Dred Scott v. Sanford is the most famous-and also the most infamous-Supreme Court decision in American history. Justice Roger Taney's ruling in favor of Scott's owner effectively extended the reach of the slave system far beyond the South, and was instrumental in worsening the sectional crisis. While the decision was disastrous, what is often overlooked is the fact that in certain circumstances slaves could avail themselves of the legal system. As it turns out, Scott was one among many slave litigants who took to the courts and in so doing helped reshape the parameters of American slavery. In Redemption Songs, Lea VanderVelde moves far beyond the Scott case through chapter-length accounts of a dozen slave suits in the state of Missouri. VanderVelde covers the Scott case, but casts it in relief against a wide variety of trials involving slave litigants. In one instance, an owner freed his slaves, but they were seized by the owner's creditors. Were they free or not? Another case revolved around the fact that the litigant had Native American as well as black ancestors. Which ancestry was decisive? Another dispute involved a Mississippi owner's will, which included only vague instructions to manumit his slaves into Illinois. In combination, the stories behind the cases provide a genuinely multifaceted portrait of slavery in late antebellum America. While hundreds of books have been written about slavery, in the main they tend to be either microhistories of individual slaves and slave families or broad social histories of the peculiar institution. Redemption Songs uniquely features both approaches. VanderVelde not only knits together the stories of a dozen distinct individuals with one thing in common-their status as litigants-and little else, she also provides a rich and eye-opening account of the legal foundations of the larger system. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how the system operated and how slaves attempted to navigate through it in the most trying of circumstances. Bookseller Inventory # B9780199927296

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Book Description OUP USA, 2014. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # FU-9780199927296

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