Feb. 14, 2016: Dred Scott article full of inaccuracies

Feb. 14, 2016: Dred Scott article full of inaccuracies

I was disappointed to read inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Tom Emery's guest commentary titled: "Dred Scott case inflamed slavery debate." As Lincoln said of Justice Taney, Emery "assumed historical facts which are not really true."

Emery stated that the Illinois state constitution's prohibition of slavery "should have entitled Scott to his freedom." Blacks were prohibited from residing in the state of Illinois by the Illinois Black Code. The penalties included being sold into slavery. Blacks were transported out of the state or sent to work in the salt mines.

Slavery was outlawed in Illinois not because the majority of Illinoisans had pro-black sympathies, but rather because they were opposed to blacks living here under any conditions.

Even President Lincoln favored the Illinois Black Code and the Fugitive Slave Act, which returned slaves to their masters.

Tom Emery's article contributes to the mythology in which Northern states were pro-black, Southern states were racist and Abraham Lincoln was a benevolent emancipator who led a crusade against Southern slavery. The truth is more much complex.

The Dred Scott decision was a libertarian decision. U.S. citizens could lawfully carry their property into any state, regardless of local law.

This decision would permit Texans to carry their assault rifles into California and Coloradans to carry their recreational marijuana into Illinois.

Misrepresenting our history with regard to slavery makes villains and heroes out of ordinary people who merely held the values of their times.

MICHAEL HARI
Clarence