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Roger Taney, The End of a Career (Swisher, 1935)

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Carl Brent Swisher, Roger B. Taney (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935).

The fact that he [Roger Taney] died in virtual public disgrace was the result of his refusal to make another concession to the inevitable. To him it was unthinkable that the rapidly growing North should be permitted to impress its culture upon the South, not by slow permeation but by domination exercised through the federal government. He saw clearly that culture was inseparably linked with economic life, that barriers against the spread of slavery into the territories would prevent the territorial spread of southern culture and encourage that of the North, that the North would ultimately dominate the federal government, and that it would use its power throughout the country for the economic and cultural benefit of the section in which it evolved.

The South would be injured not so much because its culture would not remain static as because change would be forced upon it from without. Had the southern states of their own volition set about the gradual abolition of slavery and the making of adjustments necessary to the change, the movement would doubtless have had Taney’s deepest sympathy, although he was aware of the difficulties in the way of such a program. It was coercion from the North which he feared, coercion based on the assumption that the southerners were an immoral people. A coerced South would not be the South at all. To survive it must remain independent, even though independence might be maintained only through secession.

How to Cite This Page: "Roger Taney, The End of a Career (Swisher, 1935)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/14182.