Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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TANEY, Roger Brooke, was born in Calvert county, Md., March 17, 1777, and died at Washington city, Oct. 12, 1864. He was graduated at Dickinson college in 1795, was admitted to the bar in 1799, and became attorney general of Maryland in 1827, and attorney general of the United States in 1831. In the following year he was appointed secretary of the treasury (see DEPOSITS, REMOVAL OF); but his nomination was not sent to the senate until the service for which he had been selected was performed, and then the senate refused to confirm it. Jackson then appointed him to the supreme court bench, and the senate again refused to confirm him. In 1836, the whigs having lost control of the senate, Jackson appointed him to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Chief Justice Marshall, and the senate confirmed the appointment. He filled the office until his death. His most interesting opinions, in a political point of view, were those given in the Dred Scott case (see that title) and the Merriman case. (See HABEAS CORPUS.)


—Tyler's Life of Taney, 195 foll., makes it evident that Taney, in removing the deposits, acted from a sense of duty, and not from political motives. In the same work, p. 578 foll., is a supplementary opinion in the Dred Scott case, which will at least show Taney's honesty of belief. His opinion in the Merriman case was upheld by the supreme court, after the rebellion was ended, in the Milligan case. See, contra, 1 Greeley's American Conflict, 253; 2 Wilson's Rise and Fall of the Slave Power, 524; Giddings' History of the Rebellion, 403; The Unjust Judge.

A. J.

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