Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Taney, Roger Brooke The Quarterly Law Journal, vol IV, No 3, [163] - 202.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09087 Author/Creator: Taney, Roger Brooke Place Written: s.l. Type: Pamphlet Date: July 1859 Pagination: 39 p.

Circuit court case of United States v. Amy, re: slave stealing letter written by her master. Arrested under Section 22 of the Act of Congress which provides that "Any person shall steal a letter from the mail, the offender shall, upon conviction, be imprisoned not less than two years..." The defense held that the word "person" as used in the Constitution of the United States to describe a citizen, did not apply to a slave, as defined in the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, and asked for a motion to dismiss. Although the judge hearing both cases was Roger B. Taney, chief justice of the Supreme Court (serving here as circuit court judge), he declined to uphold his own precedent.

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