The New Student's Reference Work/Taney, Roger Brooke

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Taney (ta̤'nĭ), Roger Brooke, chief-justice of the United States, was born in Calvert County, Md., March 17, 1777. He graduated at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, studied law, and took part in politics as a Federalist. He afterwards became a Jackson Democrat, and was made attorney-general in President Jackson's cabinet in 1831. Two years later he was appointed secretary of the treasury, as his chief knew that he could be depended upon to remove the government deposits from the United States Bank to local banks, the refusal to do which had caused the dismissal of Secretary Duane. Taney succeeded the great Marshall as chief-justice of the supreme court in 1837. His most famous decision was that in the Dred-Scott case in 1857, in which Scott, a negro, brought suit to gain his freedom on the ground of his having been carried by his master from the slave-state of Missouri into free territory. The decision, denying the right of citizenship to negroes and the authority of Congress to keep slavery out of the territories, caused greater excitement throughout the country than any decision of the supreme court before or since. Chief-Justice Taney died at Washington, D, C., Oct. 12, 1864. See Life by Prof. Samuel Tyler.