Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The United States Supreme Court has been accused of rendering pro-Southern decisions in the period prior to the American Civil War. This accusation stems, in part, from the pro-Southern, pro-Democratic composition of the Court. These charges of partisanship, combined with the turbulence of social reform and the controversy of nullification, make the Supreme Court from 1841 to 1859 an extremely interesting one. From Groves v. Slaughter (1841) to Ableman v. Booth (1859), the tribunal heard six major slave cases. These include Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), Jones v. VanZandt (1847), Strader v. Graham (1850), and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). Each of these cases was considered a pro-slavery “victory” by the Southerners at the time. In spite of the fact that they were regarded as pro-slavery decisions, each of these cases further strengthened the Federal government and each decision has strong nationalistic overtones.


Wilda M. Smith

Date of Award

Summer 1966

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1966 Mary Scott Rowland


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