Martha Jones and scholars discuss Roger Taney’s legacy on WYPR:
“One of his earliest decisions as the attorney general of the United States … turns on whether or not free African Americans are citizens because there’s a question about whether or not they can obtain federal licenses to pilot boats along the coastal waters of the United States,” Jones said.
“Taney didn’t believe it would be possible for multiple races to coexist in a democracy, Jones said. He was a colonizationist, meaning he believed that free African Americans should be strongly encouraged or even paid to leave the United States.
“The reason that no black person can be a citizen of the United States in an operational sense for Taney is that that would mean that they would have a claim to stay and would not be subject to colonization or removal,” Jones said.
“She said Taney expressed regret about Dred Scott late in life, but not because he thought he had been wrong. Rather, he felt that his reasoning was misunderstood. He wrote a second Dred Scott opinion to explain that reasoning. It was published after his death.”
Listen here: http://wypr.org/post/who-was-roger-taney