Saunders presents the first full biography of the southern U.S. SupremeCourt justice who championed both the U.S. Constitution and states’ rights.The life of John Archibald Campbell reflects nearly everymajor development of 19th-century American history. He participated eitherdirectly or indirectly in events ranging from the Indian removal processof the 1830s, to sectionalism and the Civil War, to Reconstruction andredemption. Although not a defender of slavery, he feared that abrupt abolitionwould produce severe economic and social dislocation. He urged southernersto reform their labor system and to prepare for the eventual abolitionof slavery. In the early 1850s he proposed a series of reforms to strengthenslave families and to educate the slaves so as to prepare them for assimilationinto society as productive citizens. These views distinguished him frommany southerners who steadfastly maintained the sanctity of the peculiarinstitution.Born and schooled in Georgia, Campbell moved to Montgomery,Alabama, in the early 1830s, where he joined a successful law practice.He served in the Alabama legislature for a brief period and then movedwith his family to Mobile to establish a law practice. In 1853 Campbellwas appointed an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. His concurringopinion in the Dred Scott case in 1857 derived not from the standpointof protecting slavery but from an attempt to return political power tothe states. As the sectional crisis gathered heat, Campbell counseled moderation.He became widely detested in the North because of his defense of states’rights, and he was distrusted in the South because of his moderate viewson slavery and secession. In May 1861 Campbell resigned from the Courtand later became the Confederacy’s assistant secretary of war. After thewar, Campbell moved his law practice to New Orleans. Upon his death in1889, memorial speakers in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans recognizedhim as one of the nation’s most gifted lawyers and praised his vast learningand mastery of both the common law and the civil law.In this first full biography of Campbell, Robert Saunders,Jr., reveals the prevalence of anti-secession views prior to the CivilWar and covers both the judicial aspects and the political history of thiscrucial period in southern history.
John Archibald Campbell Southern Moderate, 1811-1889