The course of Lincoln's political future would dramaticallychange following the Dred Scott decision. Even before Taney issuedhis ruling, Lincoln considered the potential impact it would have onpublic policy.219 During his political campaign for both the Senate209 Id at 46.210 Id. at 49.211 FEHRENBACHER, supra note 84, at 501.212 Id.213 Id. at 503.214 FINKELMAN. supra note 44, at 198-199.215 Id at 204.216 Id at 207.217 1d at 51.218 EBONY, supra note 12 at 275; HARVEY FIRESIDE, SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL 116 (2004).219 DRED SCOTT, MR. LINCOLN AND FREEDOM,inside.asp?ID=1 5&subjectlD=2 (last visitedSept. 22, 2011). In January 1857, as he prepared for a speech, Lincoln wondered whatwould be the impact of the Dred Scott decision. In his notes, he concluded "that so soon asthe Supreme Court decides that Dred Scott is a slave, the whole community must decide that2011]397
398 RICHMOND JOURNAL OF LAW AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST [Vol. XV:2seat and the presidency, Lincoln openly articulated his opposition tothe Court's decision.22 0 He continued to promote, whether he be-lieved it or not, the notion that the South and supporters of slaverywere conspiring to extend slavery throughout the Union.221 In hisSpeech on the Dred Scott Decision, Lincoln spoke of the historicalfactual errors that Taney had made in the opinion.222 He also ad-dressed Taney's incorrect assumption that public opinion of Blackshad become more favorable than at the origin of the government ofthe United States.223 However, although Lincoln opposed Taney'sdecision, Lincoln was steadfast in his stance regarding racial amal-gamation.224 In his speech addressing the Dred Scott decision, Lin-coln did express that the Court should have recognized Dred Scottand his family as citizens and given them at least a hearing.225 How-ever, Lincoln also made his views on race mixing very clear, stating:I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive ofamalgamation. I have no right to say all the members of the Republican partyare in favor of this, nor to say that as a party they are in favor of it. There isnothing in their platform directly on the subject. But I can say a very largeproportion of its members are for it, and that the chief plank in their plat or-opposition to the spread of slavery-is most favorable to that separation.In his interpretation of the Constitution and its application to slavery,Taney would "stretch the text to fit his southern prejudices,"227 "andrule African Americans out of the Constitution."228 However, Ta-ney's opinion was unable to put an end to the slavery debate. TheDred Scott decision "exacerbated sectional tension, infuriated mostnortherners, helped set the stage for Lincoln's election to the presi-dency in 1860 and surely brought the nation closer to civil war."229In accepting his nomination as the Republican candidate for the Se-nate, Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech, in which he ad-dressed the issue of slavery:not only Dred Scott, but that all persons in like condition, are rightfully slaves." 2 THECOLLECTED WORKS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 388 (Roy P. Basler 1857).