This bit of history was sent to me, and the rest of our staff, by our History department chair. Just thought it was interesting and wanted to share.
Most of you know by now that Abraham Lincoln’s Bible will be used at the inauguration of Barack Obama. The swearing in is the responsibility of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.
But do you know the name of the Chief Justice who held the bible and swore in Abraham Lincoln? He was Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, most remembered for the Dred Scott decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford. In this infamous decision by our highest court, Taney stated that Blacks were “a subordinate and inferior class of beings” who have “none of the rights and privileges” of citizens of the United States. “Slaves were property”. This famous decision outraged and polarized Americans and is considered a major cause of the Civil War.
Taney thus held this Bible as he passed on the power of the President to Lincoln who ultimately freed the slaves. It is shear poetry that this same Bible will be used to inaugurate our first African American President. Regardless of your personal political beliefs, I hope you all appreciate the historic significance of this event which has brought the issue of slavery “full circle”, and brought our nation to a higher plane of existence and humanity.
I also hope you will all tune in to watch the inauguration on January 20 and allow your students to appreciate this huge step in American History.
Some trivia from the History Department.