Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Seccession and the President's War Powers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Seccession and the President's War Powers

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The clashes between President Abraham Lincoln and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney over slavery, secession, and Lincoln's constitutional war powers went to the heart of Lincoln's presidency.

Lincoln and Taney's bitter disagreements began with Taney's Dred Scott opinion in 1857, when the Chief Justice declared that the Constitution did not grant the black man any rights that th...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Tantor Media (first published November 7th 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 221)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
revised 8/21/11

Lincoln and Taney had a lot in common. Both abhorred slavery. Taney (pronounced tawney) freed his slaves early on. Both were ungainly, tall men, who wore ill-fitting clothes. The similarity ended there, for they had decidedly differing views on the future of slavery, secession, and presidential war powers. Taney opposed Lincoln for his suspension of many constitutional civil liberties (sounds like Bush, except that Bush had a Supreme Court in his pocket.) The first third or so of...more
Blake Maddux
An excellent piece of scholarship and a highly-readable popular history. I learned and re-learned a great deal. (Page 217 is especially enlightning.) If nothing else, grab a copy from the library-or curl up with one at a bookstore-and read the superb Epilogue.
Not nearly as compelling as I had hoped. It is a decent read, but did not really bring to life these starkly different men.
An interesting head-to-head biography about two gentlemen who went head-to-head quite often during the Civil War.

James F. Simon's Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney shines an interesting light on two overlooked aspects of 19th century American history.

The first overlooked aspect is the Supreme Court, specifically the person of Roger Taney (pronounced Tawney), the Chief Justice most famous for what may be known for all time as his single worst legal opinion, and one of the most controversial and il...more
Jeremy Perron
In my pervious review, I described Simon's other work, What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States, as the struggle between two American icons: Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall. This book is slightly different, although it also features the struggles of a famous president with the chief justice of the Supreme Court; this book features an American Icon vs. an American villain. It is unusual for me to name any historical figure a villain,...more
Christopher Carbone
"Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney" is a very good book- solid, interesting and in very many ways informative. However, the one thing it is not is a "Ali-Frazier" or "France-Germany" or "Taste-Great v. Less Filling" rivaly; as much as the book tries to make Chief Justice Tawney as the great "other" to Abraham Lincoln, the book ultimately cannot deliver that dynamic.

Lincoln and Chief Justice Tawney is a book aboit two men in two time-periods brough together by Tawney's extraordinary ruling in the...more
James F. Simon starts his work with a chapter each on Taney and Lincoln to provide a bit of their history. Points brought out in his discussion of the slavery issue raise questions in one's mind of who really started the Civil War. While it is said that when meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe Lincoln said something like "the little lady who started the war", I would suggest Steven Douglas gave it a greater impetus by his actions to get elected to the Illinois Senate. Though Taney is infamous for the...more
Janice Hussock
The relationship between Lincoln and Taney interested me as I heard anecdotes during presentations at the National Constitution Center. Before the Center's programs, I assumed Taney was a small town racist hick jurist of no account. He was a great Chief Justice and a strong advocate of civil liberties, save for Dred Scott.

This book highlighted the different backgrounds of Lincoln and Taney long before Dred Scott came before the Court. Taney was a man of his time and home. I suppose I am the same...more
Jeni Enjaian
I really enjoyed this book, especially because the topics/events discussed coincided with the chapter I read in my American Constitutional History book. The writing is very readable without resorting to dumbing down history. Simon covers a vast range of topics in a neatly concise mannar.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Chief Justice Taney and how he ruled as chief justice. However, I wish more of the book had been spent on the "battle" between Lincoln and Taney. Seeing as how that's the...more
Katy Dickinson
This book presents the Civil War from the point of view of legal circumstances, particularly those major constitutional controversies considered by the Supreme Court. It is very well written and draws interest by presenting personal views from letters as well as opinions on the formal public record. Lincoln and Taney had much in common. However, after decades of admirable service, Taney threw away his chance to be remembered as a great Chief Justice by writing the Dred Scott opinion based on his...more
Pierre Lauzon
The book illuminates and fills many gaps in my knowledge of the Lincoln presidency and the Civil War. The books talks about the actions of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Taney) before and during the Civil War. There are many details of the Dred Scott decision, a decision that in many ways brought on the Civil War and brought Lincoln into his political destiny.

The author discusses the progress of the Civil War and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and its implications in a long...more
Coleen Dailey
I find legal history fascinating and particularly the history of the Supreme Court. This is an interesting overview of the relationship between Taney and Lincoln, the Court and Congress and the important cases of the day. The epilogue compared Lincoln's actions to those of other war presidents which brought the entire conversation current (at least to date of publication). I would highly recommend to anyone interested in Civil War history or legal history.
Jason Tenenbaum
Apr 20, 2008 Jason Tenenbaum rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, history readers
Great book illustrating Lincoln's dedication to the abolition of slavery, how it framed his political career and led to his presidency. The discussion of his controversial suspension of civil rights, as well as chief justice Taney's judicial record is well-balanced and nuanced. This book views lincoln's ascendence through the lens of some of Taney's most infamous decisions (including the horrific Dred Scott decision).
The clashes between President Abraham Lincoln and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney over slavery, secession, and Lincoln's constitutional war powers went to the heart of Lincoln's presidency.

Listen to Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney on your smartphone, notebook or desktop computer.
Had this book been consistent with its sub-title, it would have made for an interesting monograph, which the last third of the book actually was. However, in making this book-length, the author in fact tracked the two men in the manner of a dual biography. I found that uninspiring and wiki-ish.
B. Hallward
History remembers Justice Taney almost solely in terms of the Dred Scott decision, rightly perhaps, but getting a more complete portrait of him as a judge and a lawyer, and of the less famous slavery decisions of the Taney court was interesting. Well written.
Sean Chick
Far too kind to Taney, and hurt by an anticlimactic ending, this is a solid introduction to the antebellum crisis. It is also refreshing that the book does not devolve into Lincoln worship.
Michael Taylor
An extremely well-written and researched book. A wonderful introduction to the lives of both Lincoln and Taney and the fight over slavery that led to the Civil War.
The book was great. It was not bogged about too much analyzing and research where a non history person would enjoy the information.
Bakunin marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Gordon Bermant
Gordon Bermant is currently reading it
Jun 16, 2014
John marked it as to-read
Jun 02, 2014
Neverdust marked it as to-read
May 25, 2014
Garry R.
Garry R. marked it as to-read
May 15, 2014
Jamie Byrd
Jamie Byrd marked it as to-read
May 02, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
James F. Simon is the Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at New York Law School. He is the author of seven previous books on American history, law, and politics. His books have won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award and twice been named New York Times Notable Books. He lives with his wife in West Nyack, New York.
More about James F. Simon...
What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal The Antagonists: Hugo Black, Felix Franfuter and Civil Liberties in Modern America Independent Journey: The Life of William O. Douglas The Center Holds: The Power Struggle Inside the Rehnquist Court

Share This Book