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"Highly Important Decision," Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857


"Highly Important Decision," Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857


Raleigh Standard


"Highly Important Decision," Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857, Secession Era Editorials Project, accessed January 17, 2012,






Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article


The Supreme Court of the United States, on Friday last, delivered through Chief Justice Taney its decision in the Dred Scott case, containing the following opinions: 1st. Negroes have no rights as citizens under the Constitution. 2d. The ordinance of 1787 is binding, as being the act of the several States as sovereigns prior to the formation of the Constitution. 3d. But the Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional, as being an act of the general government exercising power not delegated by the States as sovereigns. 4th. The expression of "the territory and other property of the Union," in the Constitution, applies only to such territory as was possessed at the adoption of the Constitution. 5th. As Congress does not possess the power to make enactments relative to persons or property of citizens of the United States in the federal territories, other than the Constitution confers, it cannot constitutionally delegate any such power to a territorial government. 6th. The legal condition of the slave is not affected by his sojourn in another State. We give these points as we find them summed up in the telegraphic despatch, and this statement of them may not be strictly accurate; but enough is perceived to authorize the opinion that this is the most important decision every made by any Court in this country, and that it fortifies as by a wall of brass the rights of the slaveholder in the States and in the common territories. Congress, it is expressly declared, has no constitutional power to prohibit slavery in the territories; and possessing no such power, cannot delegate it to a territorial government. No territorial government can, therefore, abolish slavery. If the "legal condition of the slave is not affected by his sojourn in another State," surely it cannot be affected by his removal to a territory; and if Congress possesses no power over slavery in the territories, surely no portion of the inhabitants of a territory can constitutionally declare that another portion shall not be secure in the rights which they enjoyed when in sovereign States, and which they have carried with them to the common territories of the Union. The idea of the abolitionists, that a slave is free as soon as he touches the soil of a free State, is again exploded; for it is declared that he remains a slave, though sojourning in a free State, and the right of his owner to his body and to his services cannot be affected. This decision will no doubt soon be published, where we shall lay it, or the material parts of it, before our readers.


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Raleigh Standard, "Highly Important Decision," Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 26, 2024,