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Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 17:30:51 -0700 From: "Clayton E. Cramer" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Or accelerated the Civil War. There's a pretty plausible argument that the Dred Scott decision was exactly this: the Court deciding that the Constitution "really" meant that a slave owner's right to travel to other states included the right to take his slaves into free states, with no change in their status. Plessy v. Ferguson is another example of the Court deciding that the Fourteenth Amendment "really" didn't mean equal. (Yes, I'm aware that there's some reason to suspect that Congress may not have meant to end segregation--but the segregated facilities in the Plessy case were not equal, and that was exactly the point--or at least that's how I would read Ayers' discussion of it in _The Promise of the New South_.) It is always very tempting to use the "elite makes the decisions" approach, when you can't persuade the majority, and do not expect to ever persuade the majority. But look what Dred Scott and the Oberlin Rescue trial did--they played a major role in ending any possibility of political compromise. Why should the slave owners have discussed or considered some sort of compensated, gradualist compensation scheme? They had control of the elite, and along with the sense of regional cultural identity, they had no practical reason to bend, once the Court was on their side. Clayton E. Cramer email@example.com ----- End forwarded message -----