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Download Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers, by James F. Simon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (75 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James F. Simon Narrator: Richard Alle Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 the white man was bound to honor. Lincoln attacked the opinion as a warped judicial interperatation of the Framers’ intent and accused Taney of being a member of a pro-slavery national conspiracy.

In his first inaugural address, Lincoln insisted that the South had no legal right to secede. Taney, who administered the oath of office to Lincoln, believed that the South’s seccession was legal and in the best interests of both sections of the country.

Once the war began, Lincoln broadly interpreted his constitutional powers as commander-in-chief to prosecute the war, suspending habeas corpus, censoring the press, and allowing military courts to try civilians for treason. Taney vociferously disagreed, accusing Lincoln of assuming dictatorial powers in violation of the Constitution. Lincoln ignored Taney’s protests, and exercised his presidential authority fearlessly, determined that he would preserve the Union.

James F. Simon skillfully brings to life this compelling story of the momentous tug-of-war between the President and the Chief Justice during the worst crisis in the nation’s history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Taut and gripping…The focus on presidential war powers makes this historical study extremely timely.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by B. Hallward | 2/21/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael Taylor | 1/17/2013

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mr. | 7/15/2012

    " Not nearly as compelling as I had hoped. It is a decent read, but did not really bring to life these starkly different men. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sean Chick | 4/10/2011

    " 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 in Lincoln worship. "

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About the Author

James F. Simon is the Martin Professor of Law at New York Law School. A former correspondent and contributing editor at Time magazine and the author of several critically acclaimed books on judicial history, including The Antagonists and The Center Holds, he lives with his wife in West Nyack, New York.