Saturday, March 5, 2011
Slavery Protected By The Constitution
John Van Zandt an abolitionist illegally hid escaping slave in his Evendale Ohio basement, then helped them to the north. In 1842 Van Zandt was sued by Wharton Jones for monetary damages do the loss of property. Jones said he was owed $450 for the cost of a slave catcher, and $500 for slave named Andrew whom Van Zandt helped escape. Abolitionist pressed the case known as Jones vs. Van Zandt hoping to challenge the constitutionality of slavery. Van Zandt’s attorney was Samuel Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s future Secretary of Treasury. On March 5th 1847 in the US Supreme Court’s decision, written by Chief Justice Roger B Taney, the court decided that slavery was protected by the United States Constitution. This ruling upheld the 1793 Fugitive Slave Law, saying that each state could determine if slavery was legal within its borders. Do to the cost of challenging his legal case, Van Zandt was ruined financially, and even had to send his children to live with relatives. He died shortly after the case was settled.