book report: Dred Scott's Revenge (2009) by Andrew Napolitano

This book, Dred Scott's Revenge, might have been interesting if Napolitano did not stray from facts and history and try to argue for state's rights and secession in the Civil War. I thought I was reading a debate book by two authors talking past each other, but it was only one who would defeat himself over and over again trying to be a state's right advocate and an anti-slavery, natural law advocate. The problem with natural law pleas is that what's natural to one advocate is unnatural to the other. In response to "All men are created equal," slavery advocates with popular science at their aid could say different races are almost different species and those whom they consider barely homo sapiens are not equal to themselves. Hence, when Lincoln was elected, slave states knew he would admit more free soil states and upend the balance of slave and abolitionist representation making his view of Natural Law likely to prevail.

Napolitano's defense of state secession ignores the example of West Virginia, which seceded from Virginia, and northern Alabama counties which unsuccessfully tried to secede. He also fails to mention voting fraud in many Confederate states that seceded even when the will of the voters was contrary. I highly recommend Bitterly Divided, which I blogged on, by David Williams.

The latter half of the book was good as it recounted the never ending depredations African-Americans endure, and sets Jeremiah Wright's famous jeremiad in context.

What is Dred Scott's revenge? I think it is the election of Barak Obama to the presidency. The author doesn't actually say, but he is hopeful that Obama signals a post-racial America. I doubt it but I do think it's a healthy step away from our racist heritage.


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