Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dred Scott’s Revenge

Full title: Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

What a provocative title! At least it’s provocative if you know who Dred Scott is. If you don’t know, take a side-trip to The History Place now. Judge Napolitano traces the history of racism in the United States from its origin in the institution of slavery to the present day. He weaves a fascinating story of how the government (which is supposed to protect people) actually contributed to the establishment and continuation of slavery throughout the years.

The most surprising portion for me was the section on Lincoln and the Civil War. The judge points out that many other countries managed to abolish slavery without resorting to war. Why, then, was it necessary in the United States? The short answer is: POLITICS. Lincoln was motivated by politics like most others who manage to get elected to national office. He actually never completely denounced slavery during the time he was running for office or while he was in the White House. Political considerations always prevailed.

When I started reading this book, I expected a lot of legal lingo, and I was concerned that I might not fully understand it all. However, Napolitano’s writing style is very much like his speaking style (if you’ve heard him explain legal matters on FoxNews). It’s not the type of book you read for recreational purposes, but I highly recommend it to every American who thinks they understand how racism has affected American society.

You can read a sample and/or buy the book on the Thomas Nelson site. Click here.

No comments: