Richard Tawney

Richard Tawney

Richard Tawney was born in Calcutta, India, in 1880. He was a student at Rugby and at Balliol College, Oxford, obtained a degree in modern history.

After university he worked at Toynbee Hall and in 1905 joined the executive committee of the Workers' Educational Association (WEA).

Tawney lectured at Glasgow University between 1908 and 1914 but continued to work for the WEA. Tawney held several senior posts in the organisation including vice-president (1920-28) and president (1928-44).

A member of the Union of Democratic Control in the First World War, Tawney became a lecturer at the London School of Economics in 1917.

Tawney continued to take a keen interest in politics and was a supporter of the Popular Front government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Promoted to professor of economic history in 1931 he was also a member of the University Grants Committee (1943-49).

Tawney, a Christian Socialist, wrote several influential books on education, politics and economics. The most important of these being The Acquisitive Society (1921), Secondary Education for All (1922), Education: the Socialist Policy (1924), Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) and Equality (1931).

Richard Tawney died in 1962.

No one could demolish humbug so neatly, nor put a positive case more eloquently. He wrote in the finest classical English and used to say he could not write at all until he reached boiling point. He was also a magnificent journalist, who had served an apprenticeship with Beveridge, his brother-in-law, as an editorial writer on the Morning Post in its less Tory period. In my day he was still writing on education in the Manchester Guardian. I still remember some of his leaders after nearly half a century.

For every man who a year ago knew and said that the Peace Treaty was immoral in conception and would be disastrous, there are thousands who say it now. Though there seems little to be said about the Treaties which has not been said already, it is nevertheless of immense importance to let public opinion abroad realise that the heartless and cynical politicians who negotiated them do not represent the real temper of Great Britain.

The Spanish struggle has entered a critical phase, the democratic Government of Spain has mobilised every man and

woman to stem the last desperate offensive of the enemy against Catalonia. The determination of the Spanish people to resist is as great as ever, and its troops are successfully counter-attacking in the south.

It has now become clear that the Republicans are facing an overwhelming weight of arms, troops, and munitions accumulated by Italy and Germany in flagrant and open violation of their undertakings under the Non-Intervention Agreement. At least five Italian divisions with complete war material form the spearhead of the rebel advance in Catalonia, in Rome not only is this fact openly declared but the official 'Diplomatic Bulletin' announces that this aid will be increased as much as necessary.

The Prime Minister in Rome apparently accepted this position. The 'agreement to differ', according to the diplomatic correspondents, is that 'Britain will adhere to non-intervention while Italy adheres to intervention'. In other words, while the

Republican Government is to continue to be deprived of its right to trade and purchase arms and has loyally fulfilled its undertakings by withdrawing every one of its foreign volunteers, under supervision of the League of Nations Commission, the right has been recognised of the Italian Government to pursue military intervention in defiance of its repeated pledges.

British policy has been declared again and again to be "to enable the Spanish people to settle their own affairs', yet now non-intervention has become a weapon by which Mussolini is to be allowed to impose his will on the Spanish people while Britain and France tie their hands.

Since, as seems implied by the results of the Rome visit, Mr. Chamberlain now admits that nothing further can be done to get the Italian divisions out of Spain or to prevent further Italian intervention in the degree Mussolini considers necessary, there is no possible basis in law or justice for preventing the restoration to the Republican Government of its right to purchase the means for its defence. The embargoes must be lifted and the frontiers opened by Britain and France forthwith.


Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors

Richard Tawney was baptised at St Thomas&rsquos Church on 24 January 1683/4, the son of Edward Tawney and his wife Elizabeth. His three older siblings had also been baptised there: Edward in 1671, Robert in 1678, and Elizabeth in 1681 and there was another brother, Henry, buried there in 1671.

When Richard was aged six, his father Edward died, and: he was buried at St Thomas&rsquos Church on 25 July 1690. Just over a year later, on 26 October 1691, his mother Elizabeth married again at St Thomas&rsquos Church: her new husband was a bargemaster, John Clarke. The family lived in a big house in Lower Fisher Row, which his mother inherited after the death of Clarke.

Richard Tawney seems to have acquired a share of his stepfather&rsquos business as well as his house, and became a boatmaster himself. He lived at Binsey (then in Berkshire).

Richard Tawney and his first wife Jane Smith had four children, but only one daughter survived:

  • Richard Tawney junior (baptised on 23 May 1712 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey
    and buried there on 13 July 1720)
  • Jane Tawney (privately baptised on 30 November 1713 by St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey)
  • John Tawney (baptised on 13 August 1715 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey
    died aged about 14, and buried at the church on 2 March 1730)
  • Edward Tawney (baptised on 21 June 1717 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey
    died aged about one month, buried at the church on 18 July 1717)

Richard Tawney&rsquos first wife Jane Tawney died on 5 July 1717, soon after the birth of her youngest son. She was buried at Binsey Church the same day her baby was buried with her a week later.

On 20 May 1719 at St John&rsquos Church (Merton College Chapel) Richard Tawney, with his home parish given in the register as Binsey, married his second wife, Elizabeth Rowler of Yarnton. They had ten children, but seven died in childhood. Both their sons who survived were themselves to serve as Mayor of Oxford:

  • Mary Tawney (baptised on 4 March 1720 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey)
  • Richard Tawney junior (baptised on 14 April 1721 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey)
  • Henry Tawney (privately baptised on 30 December 1722 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey and received in church on 22 January 1722/3 died aged 13 and buried at the church on 30 January 1736)
  • Elizabeth Tawney (privately baptised on 14 March 1724/5 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey and received in church on 9 April died aged 6 and buried at the church on 31 October 1730)
  • Ann Tawney (privately baptised on 17 July 1726 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey and received in church on 14 August died aged about 13 and buried at the church on 2 June 1739)
  • Edward Tawney (privately baptised on 2 March 1728/9 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey and received in church on 31 March died aged about eight months and buried in the church on 4 November 1730)
  • Joseph Tawney (baptised on 2 March 1730/31 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey died aged about one and buried in the church on 19 March 1731/2)
  • Elizabeth Tawney (privately baptised on 11 September 1733 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey, received in church on 7 October died aged about 7, and buried at the church on 4 August 1740) (baptised at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey on 7 December 1735 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey)
  • Sarah Tawney (no baptism recorded, but buried at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey on 14 June 1740 at St Margaret&rsquos Church, Binsey)

Tawney came on to the Common Council on 30 September 1737 at the age of 53, and was immediately elected to fill up a Chamberlain&rsquos place. He was sworn in on 2 December, and paid £3 10s. and the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as Constable. In September 1739 he was elected Mayor&rsquos Chamberlain

By 1743, Richard was a brewer, and in 1745, at the age of 60, he became tenant of the present Morrell&rsquos Brewery site, and started the Lion Brewer there. He evidently supplied beer to the council, as the franchises of 1747 show a payment of £4. 14s. 0d. for beer paid to Messrs Treacher and Tawney.

In June 1748 Tawney became one of the eight Assistants, and on 30 September 1748 he was elected Mayor (for 1748/9) , naming Isaac Lawrence as his Child.

In October 1749 Tawney was given the duty of overseeing the building of a dam or weir at Rewley Lock. In April 1752 he was given a lease of a vault under the north end of the Town Hall that was being built.

Richard Tawney died on 10 February 1756 at the age of 73, and was described as being of St Thomas&rsquos parish when he was buried at Binsey on the 22nd of that month.

His second wife Elizabeth Tawney (also described as being of St Thomas&rsquos) died on 11 September 1769 and was buried with him at Binsey Church on 15 September.

Left: Richard Tawney and his two wives and his children are commemorated on this monument in Binsey Church. It reads:

Sacred to the Memory
Of JANE the Wife of RICHARD TAWNEY,
Sometime Mayor of the City of Oxford,
who died July 5th, 1717:

Of the said RICHARD TAWNEY,
who died Febry. 10th, 1756, aged 72 Years
Of ELIZABETH, his second Wife,
who died Sepr. 11th 1769, aged 73 Years

Of five of their Children, who died in their Infancy

And also
Of RICHARD TAWNEY, Knight,
Alderman, and thrice Mayor of Oxford,
Son of the above mentioned RICHARD & ELIZABETH
who died Octr. 5th 1791, aged 70 Years.

Near this place are likewise interred the Remains
of EDWARD TAWNEY, Alderman of Oxford,
who, as well as his Brother,
three times discharged the Office of Mayor,
with Credit to himself & Advantages to the Public.
Besides other charitable Benefactions,
during his Life, he founded & endowed
an Almshouse for the support
of three poor Men & three poor Women.
He died March 10th 1800, aged 65 years.
And
in Compliance with the Directions of his Will
this Monument was erected by his Executors


Richard Tawney - History

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The Acquisitive Society is a compelling and remarkable book by Richard Henry Tawney that presents an almost utopian theory on how to create a just and equitable social and economic environment in which all economic inequalities would be eliminated. Tawney was an English economic historian and an expert on Capitalist theory. In this book he expounds upon his theory that acquisitiveness is morally wrong and that it has a deleterious effect on society. The key to ending economic inequality, in Tawney's view, is to spread the wealth evenly and eliminate the top-heavy capitalist model in which a few hold the wealth and power while those beneath them toil so that the wealthy can grow wealthier. The most practical means of spreading the wealth was, in his estimation, the imposition of an income limit on all individuals.

Tawney's socialist utopia was one based on a strong ethical and moral foundation and his theory is as pertinent today as it was in 1920 when this book was first published. Many of his ideas and social theories were later to be adopted. For example his advocacy for the need of a system of universal secondary education came to fruition in the form of England's 1944 Education Act. Tawney was a humanist and social advocate whose work, is far too often overlooked today. The Acquisitive Society as well as many of Tawney's other books such as Religion and the Rise of Capitalism and Equality should be read by every historian, social activist, economist, and politician, and which should be required reading in schools - both as works of historical significance and for their advocacy of social justice.

Related Reviews:

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An introductory college-level survey course on modern world history and international relations.


Notes

  1. Richard Cobb, ‘Reputations Revisited’, Times Literary Supplement, 21 Jan 1977, 66. To be fair to Cobb, he did apologise for this comment after the furore had broken.Back to (1)
  2. Theodore Rabb / John Vaizey, ‘R. H. Tawney’, Times Literary Supplement, 25 Feb, 1977, 214.Back to (2)
  3. G. R. Elton, ‘R. H. Tawney’, Times Literary Supplement, 11 Feb, 1977, 156.Back to (3)
  4. See John Brewer’s introduction to the edition of Stone’s The Causes of the English Revolution, p. xi. Goldman counters that ‘Stone apparently cultivated Tawney, whose work he deeply admired, though this simply may have meant paying him visits in Mecklenburgh Square where Tawney would see anyone and everyone, and would offer help and encouragement as he could’ (p. 236).Back to (4)
  5. Lawrence Stone, TheCauses of the English Revolution (London, 2002), p. 28.Back to (5)
  6. A. L. Rowse, Historians I Have Known (London, 1995), p. 95.Back to (6)
  7. A L Rowse was (predictably) more uncharitable – ‘When I penetrated his study in Mecklenburg Square I was amazed: not only the litter of books and papers on every chair, table or ledge, but trays with scraps of food, unwashed teacups etc …Tawney sat imperturbably in the midst of the mess, he didn’t seem to notice the squalor’, Historians I Have Known, pp. 93–4.Back to (7)
  8. Quoted in Michael Temple, Blair (London, 2006), p. 88.Back to (8)
  9. Witness Gerald Feldman’s behaviour in the David Abrahms case – see Jon Wiener, Historians in Trouble (New York, NY, 2005), pp. 95–104.Back to (9)
  10. Elton, ‘R. H. Tawney’, 156.Back to (10)

Please note that this review was commissioned before Professor Goldman's appointment as IHR Director.


WORKS BY TAWNEY

(1912) 1963 The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Franklin.

1913 The Assessment of Wages in England by the Justices of the Peace. Vierteljahrsschrift fur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 11:307-337, 533-564.

(1914) 1937 Bland, Alfred E. BROWN, P. A. and Tawney, R. H. (editors) English Economic History: Select Documents. London: Bell.

1920 The Acquisitive Society. New York: Harcourt. → A paperback edition was published in 1948.

(1924) 1953 TAWNEY, R. H. and Power, Eileen (editors) Tudor Economic Documents: Being Select Documents Illustrating the Economic and Social History of Tudor England. 3 vols. New York: Longmans. → Volume 1: Agriculture and Industry. Volume 2: Commerce, Finance and Poor Law. Volume 3: Pamphlets, Memoranda and Literary Extracts.

(1926) 1963 Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study. Gloucester, Mass.: Smith.

(1931) 1952 Equality. 4th ed., rev. London: Allen & Un-win. → A paperback edition was published in 1961 by Putnam.

(1932) 1964 Land and Labour in China. New York: Octagon Books.

1934 TAWNEY, A. J. and Tawney, R. H. An Occupational Census of the Seventeenth Century. Economic History Review First Series 5:25-64.

1941a Harrington’s Interpretation of His Age. British Academy, London, Proceedings 27:199-223.

1941b The Rise of the Gentry: 1558-1640. Economic History Review First Series 11:1-38.

1953 The Attack, and Other Papers. London: Allen & Unwin New York: Harcourt.

1954 The Rise of the Gentry: A Postscript. Economic History Review Second Series 7:91-97.

1958a Business and Politics Under James I: Lionel Cran-field as Merchant and Minister. Cambridge Univ. Press.

1958b Social History and Literature. Leicester (England) Univ. Press.


Contents

Taney was born in Calvert County, Maryland on March 17, 1777, to Michael Taney V and Monica Brooke Taney. Taney's ancestor, Michael Taney I, had settled in Maryland from England in 1660. He and his family established themselves as prominent Catholic landowners. As Roger Taney's older brother, Michael Taney VI, was expected to inherit the family's plantation, Taney's father encouraged him to study law. At the age of fifteen, Taney was sent to Dickinson College, where he studied ethics, logic, languages, mathematics, and other subjects. After graduating from Dickinson in 1796, he read law under Judge Jeremiah Townley Chase in Annapolis. Taney was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1799. [2] In 1844, Taney was elected as a member to the American Philosophical Society. [3]

Taney married Anne Phoebe Charlton Key, sister of Francis Scott Key, on January 7, 1806. [4] They had six daughters together. Though Taney himself remained a Catholic, all of his daughters were raised as members of Anne's Episcopal Church. [5] Taney rented an apartment during his years of service with the federal government, but he and his wife maintained a permanent home in Baltimore. After Anne died in 1855, Taney and two of his unmarried daughters moved permanently to Washington, D.C. [6]

After gaining admission to the state bar, Taney established a successful legal practice in Frederick, Maryland. At his father's urging, he ran for the Maryland House of Delegates as a member of the Federalist Party. With the help of his father, Taney won election to the House of Delegates, but he lost his campaign for a second term. Taney remained a prominent member of the Federalist Party for several years until he broke with the party due to his support of the War of 1812. In 1816, He won election to a five-year term in the Maryland State Senate. [7] In 1823, Taney moved his legal practice to Baltimore, where he gained widespread notoriety as an effective litigator. In 1826, Taney and Daniel Webster represented merchant Solomon Etting in a case that appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1827, Taney was appointed as the Attorney General of Maryland. [8] Taney supported Andrew Jackson in the 1824 presidential election and the 1828 presidential election. He joined Jackson's Democratic Party and served as a leader of Jackson's 1828 campaign in Maryland. [9]

Taney's attitudes toward slavery were complex. He emancipated his own slaves and gave pensions to those who were too old to work. [10] In 1819, he defended an abolitionist Methodist minister who had been indicted for inciting slave insurrections by denouncing slavery in a camp meeting. [ citation needed ] In his opening argument in that case, Taney condemned slavery as "a blot on our national character". [11]

Cabinet member Edit

As a result of the Petticoat Affair, in 1831 President Jackson asked for the resignations of most of the members of his cabinet, including Attorney General John M. Berrien. [12] Jackson turned to Taney to fill the vacancy caused by Berrien's resignation, and Taney became the president's top legal adviser. In one advisory opinion that he wrote for the president, Taney argued that the protections of the United States Constitution did not apply to free blacks he would revisit this issue later in his career. [13] Like his predecessors, Taney continued the private practice of law while he served as attorney general, and he served as a counsel for the city of Baltimore in the landmark Supreme Court case of Barron v. Baltimore. [14]

Taney became an important lieutenant in the "Bank War," Jackson's clash with the Second Bank of the United States (or "national bank"). Unlike other members of the cabinet, Taney argued that the national bank was unconstitutional and that Jackson should seek to abolish it. With Taney's backing, Jackson vetoed a bill to renew the national bank's charter, [15] which was scheduled to expire in 1836. [16] The Bank War became the key issue of the 1832 presidential election, which saw Jackson defeat a challenge from national bank supporter Henry Clay. Taney's unyielding opposition to the bank, combined with Jackson's decisive victory in the election, made the attorney general one of the most prominent members of Jackson's cabinet. [17]

Jackson escalated the Bank War after winning re-election. When Secretary of the Treasury William J. Duane refused to authorize the removal of federal deposits from the national bank, Jackson fired Duane and gave Taney a recess appointment as secretary of the treasury. [18] Taney redistributed federal deposits from the national bank to favored state-chartered banks, which became known as "pet banks". [19] In June 1834, the Senate rejected Taney's nomination as secretary of the treasury, leaving Taney without a position in the cabinet. [20] Taney was the first cabinet nominee in the nation's history to be rejected by the Senate. [21]

Supreme Court nominations Edit

Despite Taney's earlier rejection by the Senate, in January 1835 Jackson nominated Taney to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Gabriel Duvall. Opponents of Taney ensured that his nomination was not voted on before the end of the Senate session, thereby defeating the nomination. The Democrats picked up seats in the 1834 and 1835 Senate elections, giving the party a stronger presence in the chamber. In July 1835, Jackson nominated Taney to succeed Chief Justice John Marshall, who had died earlier in 1835. Though Jackson's opponents in the Whig Party once again attempted to defeat Taney's nomination, Taney won confirmation in March 1836. [22] He was the first Catholic to serve on the Supreme Court. [1]

Marshall had dominated the Court during his 35 years of service, and his opinion in Marbury v. Madison had helped establish the federal courts as a co-equal branch of government. To the dismay of states' rights advocates, the Marshall Court's rulings in cases such as McCulloch v. Maryland had upheld the power of federal law and institutions over state governments. Many Whigs believed that Taney was a "political hack" and worried about the direction that he would take the Supreme Court. One of Marshall's key allies, Associate Justice Joseph Story, remained on the Court when Taney took office, but Jackson appointees made up a majority of the Court. [23] Though Taney would preside over a jurisprudential shift toward states' rights, the Taney Court did not reject broad federal authority to the degree that many Whigs initially feared. [24]

1836–1844 Edit

Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge presented one of the first major cases of the Taney Court. In 1785, the legislature of Massachusetts had chartered a company to build the Charles River Bridge on the Charles River. In 1828, the state legislature chartered a second company to build a second bridge, the Warren Bridge, just 100 yards away from the Charles River Bridge. The owners of the Charles River Bridge sued, arguing that their charter had given them a monopoly on the operation of bridges in that area of the Charles River. The attorney for the Charles River Bridge, Daniel Webster, argued that the state of Massachusetts had violated the Commerce Clause by disregarding the monopoly that the state had granted to his client. The attorney for Massachusetts, Simon Greenleaf, challenged Webster's interpretation of the charter, noting that the charter did not explicitly grant a monopoly to the proprietors of the Charles River Bridge. [25] In his majority opinion, Taney ruled that the charter did not grant a monopoly to the Charles River Bridge. He held that, while the Contract Clause prevents state legislatures from violating the express provisions of a contract, the Court would interpret a contract provision narrowly when it conflicted with the general welfare of the state. Taney reasoned that any other interpretation would prevent advancements in infrastructure, since the owners of other state charters would demand compensation in return for relinquishing implied monopoly rights. [26]

In Mayor of the City of New York v. Miln (1837), the plaintiffs challenged a New York statute that required masters of incoming ships to report information on all passengers they brought into the country, i.e. age, health, last legal residence, etc. The question before the Taney court was whether or not the state statute undercut Congress's authority to regulate commerce or was it a police measure, as New York claimed, fully within the authority of the state. Taney and his colleagues sought to devise a more nuanced means of accommodating competing federal and state claims of regulatory power. The Court ruled in favor of New York, holding that the statute did not assume to regulate commerce between the port of New York and foreign ports and because the statute was passed in the exercise of a police power which rightfully belonged to the states. [27]

In Briscoe v. Commonwealth Bank of Kentucky (1837), the third critical ruling of Taney's debut term, the Chief Justice confronted the banking system, in particular state banking. Disgruntled creditors had demanded invalidation of the notes issued by Kentucky's Commonwealth Bank, created during the panic of 1819 to aid economic recovery. The institution had been backed by the credit of the state treasury and the value of unsold public lands, and by every usual measure, its notes were bills of credit of the sort prohibited by the federal Constitution. Briscoe demanded that purveyors of rag paper be forced to pay debts in sound paper or precious metal, as contracts most often stipulated. Kentucky officials contended that their debtor bank, had not issued bills of credit of the sort prohibited by the Constitution because the institution had been granted a separate corporate identity by legislative charter. Surely the framers had in mind banning only notes issued directly by treasuries or land offices. [ citation needed ]

Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky manifested this change in the field of banking and currency in the first full term of the court's new chief justice. Article I, section 10 of the Constitution prohibited states from using bills of credit, but the precise meaning of a bill of credit remained unclear. In the 1830 case, Craig v. Missouri, the Marshall Court had held, by a vote of 4 to 3, that state interest-bearing loan certificates were unconstitutional. However, in the Briscoe case, the Court upheld the issuance of circulating notes by a state-chartered bank even when the Bank's stock, funds, and profits belonged to the state, and where the officers and directors were appointed by the state legislature. The Court narrowly defined a bill of credit as a note issued by the state, on the faith of the state, and designed to circulate as money. Since the notes in question were redeemable by the bank and not by the state itself, they were not bills of credit for constitutional purposes. By validating the constitutionality of state bank notes, the Supreme Court completed the financial revolution triggered by President Andrew Jackson's refusal to recharter the Second Bank of the United States and opened the door to greater state control of banking and currency in the antebellum period. The opinion given by the majority, which Taney was a part of, fit neatly into the Jacksonian economic plan by holding that the notes of the Bank of Kentucky were not bills of credit prohibited by the Constitution, even though the state owned the banks and the notes circulated by state law as legal. Thus, the bank notes were constitutional. [ citation needed ]

In the 1839 case of Bank of Augusta v. Earle, Taney joined with seven other justices in voting to reverse a lower court decision that had barred out-of-state corporations from conducting business operations in the state of Alabama. [28] Taney's majority opinion held that out-of-state corporations could do business in Alabama (or any other state) so long as the state legislature did not pass a law explicitly prohibiting such operations. [29]

In Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), the Taney Court agreed to hear a case regarding slavery, slaves, slave owners, and states' rights. It held that the Constitutional prohibition against state laws that would emancipate any "person held to service or labor in [another] state" barred Pennsylvania from punishing a Maryland man who had seized a former slave and her child, and had taken them back to Maryland without seeking an order from the Pennsylvania courts permitting the abduction. In his opinion for the Court, Justice Joseph Story held not only that states were barred from interfering with enforcement of federal fugitive slave laws, but that they also were barred from assisting in enforcing those laws. In a concurring opinion, Taney argued that the constitutional guarantee of slaveholders' rights to ownership and the prohibition in Article IV against preventing slaves' return to their masters in Southern states imposed a positive duty on states to enforce federal fugitive slave laws. [ citation needed ]

The Taney Court also presided over the case of slaves who had taken over the Spanish schooner Amistad. Associate Justice Joseph Story wrote the Court's decision and opinion, upholding their right as free men to have defended themselves by attacking the crew and trying to gain freedom. Taney joined Story's unanimous majority opinion but left no written record of his own in regard to the Amistad case. [ citation needed ]

1845–1856 Edit

In the 1847 License Cases, Taney developed the concept of police power. He wrote that "whether a state passes a quarantine law, or a law to punish offenses, or to establish courts of justice . in every case it exercises the same power that is to say, the power of sovereignty, the power to govern men and things within the limits of its dominion." This broad conception of state power helped to provide a constitutional justification for state governments to take on new responsibilities, such as the construction of internal improvements and the establishment of public schools. [30]

Taney's 1849 majority opinion in Luther v. Borden provided an important rationale for limiting federal judicial power. The Court considered its own authority to issue rulings on matters deemed to be political in nature. Martin Luther, a Dorrite shoemaker, brought suit against Luther Borden, a state militiaman because Luther's house had been ransacked. Luther based his case on the claim that the Dorr government was the legitimate government of Rhode Island, and that Borden's violation of his home constituted a private act lacking legal authority. The circuit court, rejecting this contention, held that no trespass had been committed, and the Supreme Court, in 1849, affirmed. The decision provides the distinction between political questions and justiciable ones. Taney asserted that, "the powers given to the courts by the Constitution are judicial powers and extend to those subject, only, which are judicial in character, and not to those which are political." [31] The majority opinion interpreted the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution, Article IV, Section 4. Taney held that under this article Congress is able to decide what government is established in each state. This decision was important, because it is an example of judicial self-restraint. Many Democrats had hoped that the justices would legitimize the actions of the Rhode Island reformers. However, the justices' refusal to do so demonstrated the Court's independence and neutrality in a politically charged atmosphere. The Court showed that they could rise above politics and make the decision that it needed to make. [ citation needed ]

In 1852, the Genesee Chief v. Fitzhugh, dealt with the issue of admiralty jurisdiction. This case regarded a collision that occurred on Lake Ontario in 1847. The propeller of the boat, Genesee Chief, struck and sank the schooner, Cuba. Suing under the 1845 act that extended admiralty jurisdiction to the Great Lakes, the owners of the Cuba alleged that the negligence of the Genesee Chief caused the accident. Counsel for the Genesee Chief blamed the Cuba and contended that the incident occurred within New York's waters, outside the reach of federal jurisdiction. The key constitutional question was whether the case properly belonged in the federal courts. The case also derived its importance not from the facts of the collision, but about whether admiralty jurisdiction extended to the great freshwater lakes. In England, only tidal rivers had been navigable hence, in English Law, the Admiralty Courts, which had been given jurisdiction over navigable waters, found their jurisdiction limited to places which felt the effect of the tides of the sea. In the United States, the vast expanse of the Great Lakes and stretches of the continental rivers, extending for hundreds of miles, were not tidal yet upon these waters large vessels could move, with burdens of passengers and cargo. Taney ruled that the admiralty jurisdiction of the US Courts extends to waters, which are actually navigable, without regard to the flow of the ocean tides. Taney's majority opinion established a broad new definition of federal admiralty jurisdiction. According to Taney, the 1845 act fell within Congress's power to control the jurisdiction of the federal courts. "If this law, therefore, is constitutional, it must be supported on the ground that the lakes and navigable waters connecting them are within the scope of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, as known and understood in the United States when the Constitution was adopted." [32] Taney's opinion marked a significant expansion of federal judicial power and an important step in establishing uniform federal admiralty principles. [ citation needed ]

The United States increasingly polarized along sectional lines during the 1850s, with slavery acting as the central source of sectional tension. [33] Taney wrote the majority opinion in the 1851 case of Strader v. Graham, in which the Court held that slaves from Kentucky who had conducted a musical performance in the free state of Ohio remained slaves because they had voluntarily returned to Kentucky. Taney's narrowly constructed opinion was joined by both pro-slavery and anti-slavery justices on the Court. [34] While the Court avoided splitting over the issue of slavery, debates over the status of slavery in the territories, as well as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, continued to roil the nation. [35]

Dred Scott decision Edit

As Congress was unable to settle the debate over slavery, some leaders from both the North and the South came to believe that only the Supreme Court could bring an end to the controversy. [36] The Compromise of 1850 contained provisions to expedite appeals regarding slavery in the territories to the Supreme Court, but no suitable case arose until Dred Scott v. Sandford reached the Supreme Court in 1856. [37] In 1846, Dred Scott, an enslaved African-American man living in the slave state of Missouri, had filed suit against his master for his own freedom. Scott argued that he had legally gained freedom in the 1830s, when he had resided with a previous master in both the free state of Illinois and a portion of the Louisiana Territory that banned slavery under the Missouri Compromise. Scott prevailed in a state trial court, but that ruling was reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court. After a series of legal maneuvers, the case finally made its way to the Supreme Court in 1856. Although the case concerned the explosive issue of slavery, it initially received relatively little attention from the press and from the justices themselves. [38]

In February 1857, a majority of the judges on the Court voted to deny Scott freedom simply because he had returned to Missouri, thereby reaffirming the precedent set in Strader. However, after two of the Northern justices objected to the decision, Taney and his four Southern colleagues decided to write a much broader decision that would bar federal regulation of slavery in the territories. Like the other Southerners on the Court, Taney was outraged over what he saw as "Northern aggression" towards slavery, an institution that he believed was critical to "Southern life and values". [39] Along with newly elected President James Buchanan, who was aware of the broad outlines of the upcoming decision, Taney and his allies on the Court hoped that the Dred Scott case would permanently remove slavery as a subject of national debate. Reflecting these hopes, Buchanan's March 4, 1857 inaugural address indicated that the issue of slavery would soon be "finally settled" by the Court. [40] To avoid the appearance of sectional favoritism, Taney and his Southern colleagues sought to win the support of at least one Northern justice to the Court's decision. At the request of Associate Justice John Catron, Buchanan convinced Northern Associate Justice Robert Cooper Grier to join the majority opinion in Dred Scott. [39]

The Court's majority opinion, written by Taney, was given on March 6, 1857. He first held that no African-American, free or enslaved, had ever enjoyed the rights of a citizen under the Constitution. He argued that, for more than a century leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, blacks had been "regarded as beings of an inferior order, altogether unfit to associate with the white race . and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect". [41] To bolster the argument that blacks were widely regarded as legally inferior when the Constitution was adopted, Taney pointed to various state laws, but ignored the fact that five states had allowed blacks to vote in 1788. [42] He next declared that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional, and that the Constitution did not grant Congress the power to bar slavery in the territories. Taney argued that the federal government served as a "trustee" to the people of the territory, and could not deprive the right of slaveowners to take slaves into the territories. Only the states, Taney asserted, could bar slavery. Finally, he held that Scott remained a slave. [43]

The Dred Scott opinion received strong criticism in the North, and Associate Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis resigned in protest. [44] Rather than removing slavery as an issue, it bolstered the popularity of the anti-slavery Republican Party. Republicans like Abraham Lincoln rejected Taney's legal reasoning and argued that the Declaration of Independence showed that the Founding Fathers favored the protection of individual rights for all free men, regardless of race. [45] Many Republicans accused Taney of being part of a conspiracy to legalize slavery throughout the United States. [46]

American Civil War Edit

Running on an anti-slavery platform, Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 presidential election, defeating Taney's preferred candidate, John C. Breckinridge. [47] Several Southern states seceded in response to Lincoln's election and formed the Confederate States of America the American Civil War began in April 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter. [48] Unlike Associate Justice John Archibald Campbell, Taney did not resign from the Court to join the Confederacy, but he believed that the Southern states had the constitutional right to secede and he blamed Lincoln for starting the war. From his position on the Court, Taney challenged Lincoln's more expansive view of presidential and federal power during the Civil War. [49] He did not get the opportunity to rule against the constitutionality of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Legal Tender Act, or the Enrollment Act, but he did preside over two important Civil War cases. [50]

After secessionists destroyed important bridges and telegraph lines in the border state of Maryland, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in much of the state. That suspension allowed military officials to arrest and imprison suspected secessionists for an indefinite period and without a judicial hearing. After the Baltimore riot of 1861, Union officials arrested state legislator John Merryman, whom they suspected of having destroyed Union infrastructure. Union officials allowed Merryman access to his lawyers, who delivered a petition of habeas corpus to the federal circuit court for Maryland. In his role as the head of that circuit court, Taney presided over the case of Ex parte Merryman. [51] Taney held that only Congress had the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and he ordered the release of Merryman. [52] Lincoln invoked nonacquiescence in response to Taney's order as well as subsequent Taney orders. He later argued that the Constitution did in fact give the president the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus saying “Now it is insisted that Congress, and not the Executive, is vested with this power but the Constitution itself is silent as to which or who is to exercise the power and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous emergency, it can not be believed the framers of the instrument intended that in every case the danger should run its course until Congress could be called together, the very assembling of which might be prevented, as was intended in this case, by the rebellion.” Nonetheless, when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus at a far larger scale, he did so only after requesting that Congress authorize him to suspend the writ, which they did by passing the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act of 1863. [53]

In 1863, the Supreme Court heard the Prize Cases, which arose after Union ships blockading the Confederacy seized ships that conducted trade with Confederate ports. [54] An adverse Supreme Court decision would strike a major blow against Lincoln's prosecution of the war, since the blockade cut off the crucial Confederate cotton trade with European countries. [55] The Court's majority opinion, written by Associate Justice Grier, upheld the seizures and ruled that the president had the authority to impose a blockade without a congressional declaration of war. Taney joined a dissenting opinion written by Associate Justice Samuel Nelson, who argued that Lincoln had overstepped his authority by ordering a blockade without the express consent of Congress. [56]

Taney died on October 12, 1864, at the age of 87 [57] the same day his home state of Maryland passed an amendment abolishing slavery. [58] The following morning, the clerk of the Supreme Court announced that "the great and good Chief Justice is no more." He served as chief justice for 28 years, 198 days, the second longest tenure of any chief justice, [57] and was the oldest ever serving Chief Justice in United States history. [59] Taney had administered the presidential oath of office to seven incoming Presidents. Taney was nearly penniless by the time of his death and left behind only a $10,000 life insurance policy and worthless bonds from the state of Virginia. [60]

President Lincoln made no public statement in response to Taney's death. Lincoln and three members of his cabinet (Secretary of State William H. Seward, Attorney General Edward Bates, and Postmaster General William Dennison) attended Taney's memorial service in Washington. Only Bates joined the cortège to Frederick, Maryland, for Taney's funeral and burial at St. John the Evangelist Cemetery. [61] After Lincoln was re-elected, he appointed Salmon P. Chase, a strongly anti-slavery Republican from Ohio, to succeed Taney. [62]


Other Work

(1912) The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century London: Longman’s. Green & Company

(1921) The Acquisitive Society, London: G. Bell & Sons.

(1925) (ed.) Thomas Wilson, A Discourse Upon Usury, London: G. Bell & Sons.

(1926) Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, London: John Murray.

(1931) Equality, London: George Allen & Unwin. (1953) The Attack and Other Papers, London: George Allen & Unwin.

(1964) The Radical Tradition, ed. G. Hinder.

London: George Allen & Unwin.

(1978) History and Society: Essays by R. H. Tawney, ed. J. M. Winter, London: Routledge & Regan Paul.

Hasley, A. H. (1976) ‘R. H. Tawney’, in Traditions of Social Policy, Oxford: Blackwell.

MacIntyre. A. (1971) ‘The socialism of R. H. Tawney’, in Against The Self-Images of the Age, London: Duckworth.

Winter, J. M. (1972) ‘A bibliography of the published

writings of R. H. Tawney’, Economic History

A reformer and social philosopher. Tawney was concerned to describe the structure of a just economic order and to advocate the changes of British institutional life which reconstruction in accordance with his principles would require. The driving impulses behind his work were a radical Christian socialism, a concern for social injustice and a deep-seated hatred of capitalism. His ideas have greatly influenced socialist thought in Britain throughout the twentieth-century. In writing of him: ‘A scholar, a saint, a social reformer. R. H. Tawney is loved and respected by all who know him’, Beatrice Webb spoke for many later writers. According to R. H. S. Wright

(1987) Tawney’s work was ‘Crossman’s bible’

for Tony Benn there is ‘none greater’ in the socialist tradition.


Tawney, Richard Henry (1880–1962)

Tawney, Richard Henry (1880–1962), British economic historian and social philosopher. Richard Tawney was an influential Fabian socialist and an adviser to governments.

Richard Tawney was born in Calcutta, India, on Nov. 30, 1880, the son of a distinguished civil servant and Sanskrit scholar. Educated at Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford, he graduated in classics in 1903 and then lived and worked at Toynbee Hall settlement in London. From 1906 to 1908 he lectured in economics at Glasgow University and then was a pioneer teacher for the Oxford University Tutorial Classes Committee until the outbreak of war in 1914. He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Tawney was an ardent supporter of the Workers' Educational Association, serving as a member of its executive (1905) and president (1928–1944). His adult teaching, especially at Rochdale, is now legendary. His first seminal work of scholarship was The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century (1912), dedicated to his tutorial classes, in which he traced the impact of commercialism on English agriculture and society.

In 1918 Tawney became a fellow of Balliol. The following year he was appointed reader in economic history at the London School of Economics he was professor of economic history there from 1931 to 1949. He was a founder member and later president of the Economic History Society and, for 7 years, joint editor of its Review. His editions of economic documents became standard sources for students, as did his two studies of economic morality and practice in Tudor and Stuart England: his edition of Thomas Wilson's Discourse upon Usury (1925) and his classic Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926). Like his other major works, including The Rise of the Gentry (1954), Religion and the Rise of Capitalism was substantially criticized by later scholars, and its conclusions were later modified. Nevertheless, its power and seminal influence were universally recognized, so much so that the 17th century is often described as "Tawney's century." In 1958 he published his long-awaited study Lionel Cranfield: Business and Politics under James I, which was generally acclaimed by scholars.

Throughout Tawney's life, scholarship and action were interconnected. His 1914 monograph on wage rates in the chain-making industry led to his presidency of the Chain-Making Trade Board (1919–1922). In 1919 he was a leading figure on the Sankey Coal Commission, and subsequently he served as adviser on educational matters to the Labour party, member of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education and the Cotton Trade Conciliation Board, and Labour attaché at the British embassy in Washington during World War II. His ideas exerted a profound influence on the philosophy of the British left. His expanded Fabian Society pamphlet The Acquisitive Society (1922) and his essay "Equality" (1931) contained severe moral condemnations of the capitalist economic and social system.

Tawney possessed a rare combination of qualities: humility, personal asceticism bordering on eccentricity, exceptional literary skills, deep scholarship, and a rare capacity to inspire his fellowmen with ideals of humanity and social justice. He died in London on Jan. 16, 1962.


R. H. Tawney

The Oxford historian Valerie Pearl as soon as described Tawney as having appeared to these in his presence as having an “aura of sanctity”. He lent his title to the Tawney Society at Rugby School, the R. H. Tawney Economic History Society on the London School of Economics, the annual Tawney Memorial Lectures (Christian Socialist Movement), the R. H. Tawney Building at Keele University [ citation needed ] and the Tawney Tower Hall of Residence at Essex University.

Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) was his traditional work [28] and made his status as an historian. [29] It explored the connection between Protestantism and financial growth within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Tawney “bemoaned the division between commerce and social morality caused by the Protestant Reformation, main because it did to the subordination of Christian educating to the pursuit of fabric wealth”. [30]

Tawney’s historic works mirrored his moral issues and preoccupations in financial historical past. He was profoundly within the subject of the enclosure of land within the English countryside within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and in Max Weber’s thesis on the connection between the looks of Protestantism and the rise of capitalism. His perception within the rise of the gentry within the century earlier than the outbreak of the Civil War in England provoked the ‘Storm over the gentry’ through which his strategies have been subjected to extreme criticisms by Hugh Trevor-Roper and John Cooper.

Tawney’s first necessary work as a historian was The Agrarian Problem within the Sixteenth Century (1912). [23] He was a Fellow of Balliol College from 1918 to 1921. [19] [24] From 1917 to 1931, he was a lecturer on the London School of Economics. [25] In 1926 he helped discovered the Economic History Society with Sir William Ashley, amongst others, and have become the joint editor of its journal, The Economic History Review. [26] From 1931 till retirement in 1949, he was a professor of financial historical past on the LSE [19] and Professor Emeritus after 1949. He was an Honorary Doctor of the colleges of Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, London, Chicago, Melbourne, and Paris. [27]

During the First World War, Tawney served as a Sergeant within the twenty second Manchester Regiment. [19] He turned down a fee as an officer because of his political opinions, preferring as a substitute to serve within the ranks. He had initially opposed the conflict on political grounds, nevertheless he determined to enlist following experiences of atrocities dedicated through the German Army’s invasion of Belgium. He served on the Battle of the Somme (1916), the place he was wounded twice on the primary day and needed to lie in no man’s land for 30 hours till a medical officer evacuated him. He was transported to a French area hospital and later evacuated to Britain. The conflict led Tawney to grapple with the character of authentic sin. “The goodness now we have reached is a home constructed on piles pushed into black slime and at all times slipping down into it except we’re constructing evening and day”. [20] It additionally heightened his sense of urgency for significant social, financial and political change. In 1918, he largely wrote Christianity and Industrial Problems, the fifth report (the opposite 4 have been on extra ecclesiastical issues) from a Church of England fee which included numerous bishops. [21] Notable for its socialist flavour, the report “set the tone for many Anglican post-war social pondering”. [22]

For three years from January 1908, Tawney taught the primary Workers’ Educational Association tutorial lessons at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Rochdale, Lancashire. [17] For a time, till he moved to Manchester after marrying Jeannette (William Beveridge’s sister and a Somerville graduate), Tawney was working as part-time economics lecturer at Glasgow University. To fulfil his educating commitments to the WEA, he travelled first to Longton for the night class each Friday, earlier than travelling north to Rochdale for the Saturday afternoon class. Tawney clearly noticed these lessons as a two-way studying course of. “The pleasant smitings of weavers, potters, miners and engineers, have taught me a lot about the issue of political and financial sciences which can not simply be discovered from books”. [18]

Whilst Tawney remained an everyday churchgoer, his Christian religion remained a private affair, and he not often spoke publicly in regards to the foundation of his beliefs. [15] In protecting together with his social radicalism, Tawney got here to treat the Church of England as a “class establishment, making respectful salaams to property and gentility, and with too little religion in its personal creed to name a spade a spade within the vulgar method of the New Testament”. [16]

Born on 30 November 1880 in Calcutta, British India (present-day Kolkata, India), Tawney was the son of the Sanskrit scholar Charles Henry Tawney. He was educated at Rugby School, arriving on the identical day as William Temple, a future Archbishop of Canterbury they remained associates for all times. [12] He studied fashionable historical past at Balliol College, Oxford. The school’s “robust ethic of social service” mixed with Tawney’s personal “deep and enduring Anglicanism” helped form his sense of social duty. [13] After graduating from Oxford in 1903, he and his pal William Beveridge lived at Toynbee Hall, then the house of the not too long ago shaped Workers’ Educational Association (WEA). The expertise was to have a profound impact upon him. He realised that charity was inadequate and main structural change was required to result in social justice for the poor. [14]

Richard HenryHarryTawney [a] (30 November 1880 – 16 January 1962), generally called R. H. Tawney, was an English financial historian, [1] [2] social critic, [3] [4] moral socialist, [5] Christian socialist, [6] [7] and necessary proponent of grownup schooling. [8] [9] The Oxford Companion to British History (1997) defined that Tawney made a “important affect” in all 4 of those “interrelated roles”. [10] A. L. Rowse goes additional by insisting that “Tawney exercised the widest affect of any historian of his time, politically, socially and, above all, educationally”. [11]


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