Photo credit:”Governor Luther Youngdahl”. St. Paul Dispatch. January 1949.
Jan 8, 1947 to Sep 27, 1951
Luther W. Youngdahl takes office as the state’s 27th governor.*
Luther W. Youngdahl, first known for his integrity as a judge, ran to become Minnesota’s governor in an era where inner moral challenges became greater than the external ones. His critics labelled him the “Sunday school governor” for his clear-cut stance against gambling, vice, and moral decline. ** He couldn’t change the hearts of some Minnesotans, but sought to work on enforcing and expanding the laws that protected innocence and virtue.
In the first place, he negated the effects of harmful laws. One year after the legalization of bingo, he was elected governor of Minnesota. During his campaign, Governor Youngdahl had pledged to rid the state of slot machines and, upon taking office, he began to make good on his promise. The number of taxed slot machines dropped from 8,579 in 1946 to 797 in 1950 to two in 1952. ***
Additionally, he created laws of good conscience. Youngdahl advocated for the most vulnerable Minnesotans, and sought ways to relieve the burden of our society on their loved ones. During his first year in office, the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD) held its annual convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their concerns were around parental advocacy and the needs and rights of developmentally disabled (retarded) citizens. ****
Just two years later, under the leadership of President Mildred Thompson, the group met in Minneapolis with the objective of creating a national organization. It was her opinion that a cohesive national presence would be the best way to help struggling parents. By 1950, we find Governor Youngdahl a vigorous supporter of their dreams. Please read the following speech carefully, and realize the heart of Youngdahl towards our most vulnerable citizens.
“The point is this, ladies and gentlemen, the retarded child is a human being … And for reasons for which neither he nor his family are responsible, he is retarded. He has the same rights that children everywhere have. He has the same right to happiness, the same right to play, the right to companionship, the right to be respected, the right to develop to the fullest extent within his capacities, and the right to love and affection…
We cannot discriminate against this child, deny to this child the rights other children have because of the one thing that neither he nor his family can help, because he is retarded …
He has a right to these things and his parents have a right to know that he has these rights. For they, too, are entitled to peace of mind about what is happening to a retarded child separated from them.” *****
As can be seen throughout his career, L.W. Youngdahl expressed a clear conscience informed by a great respect for our laws. Even his detractors gave obeisance to his character and wise judgments; he broke up rackets and built institutions for those who were rejected by our community.****** He went on to serve three terms as governor of Minnesota before being called by President Truman to serve as a Federal judge for the District of Columbia.*******
Now we turn in recognition to You as Lawgiver and Judge; Nomothetēs kai Kritēs! ******* We respond to You with the scripture cited by President Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address.“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Psalms 19:9 KJV We also recognize that the meaning of the word “fear” used here means reverent respect. We agree with the Psalmist that we feel “clean” inside when we practice honoring Your wisdom and living with a clear conscience!
Father of Good Sense, we ask forgiveness for the excesses and spiritual deficits of this era. We were just past the time of surviving the Depression and WWII, and then some of us turned aside to follow the gods of gambling. We looked past You for our sustenance and joy in this era past, and latched onto the rush of a “one-armed bandit”. Will You forgive us this offense of Your ability to provide us with enough? We have thought Your arms are also to short to save us from purposeless existence, boredom, and koinonia. Forgive this dishonor to Your riveting personality, humor, and ever-flowing vitality; You are the life of the party!
Balanced One, we recognize also our failure to protect and recognize those who most need it. We have failed, at times, developmentally disabled citizens of Minnesota, nor properly honored them as citizens of Your country. Furthermore, we have ostracized those who battle with: mental illness, mental disorders, depression, derangement, neurosis, neurotic disorders, nervous breakdowns, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and dementia. Will You forgive us where we have devalued these neighbors whom You have honored with life and worthiness? Will you bring Your Healing Presence into our broken minds, our disrupted physiologies, and our traumas of spirit?
We acknowledge the shortcomings of Governor Youngdahl to You; in his humanity he is no better or worse than us. However, this day we commend a few of his victories for our state to You. He shielded many innocents from beginning a life of gaming by curtailing the use of slot machines. He added momentum to the AADM, and encouraged the parents and individuals with developmental disorders. He made a place for those displaced by our society because of mental illness. Will You give favor to those who continue his heritage of leadership on these issues?
It’s fitting that Youngdahl was a judge both before and after his political career. He made a lifelong habit of life-giving judgements, and made the way better for those whom society condemned. May we forever take the baton of wisdom passed down through examples like his, and run our leg of the race! May we run until Your mercy overcomes our injustice!
“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13 NIV *********
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
*** Vitt, Michael J. (1993). “Wagering the Future: Gambling and the Law in Minnesota”. The Bench & Bar of Minnesota. May/June. Pg.6 cited in
***** Listen to a sound file of Governor Youngdahl making this groundbreaking speech. https://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5a/3.html
August 26, 1919
“The state legislature ratifies the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, granting women the right to vote.” *
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution
“In 1881, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) was founded in Hastings. Prior to 1881, the campaign for suffrage in Minnesota was splintered and loosely organized, yet advances were made. In 1875 a constitutional amendment passed that allowed Minnesota women the right to vote in school elections (Laws 1875, Chapter 2). But two years later, a temperance-related suffrage constitutional amendment was defeated (Laws 1877, Chapter 2). That amendment proposed that women could vote on a ‘question of selling, or restraining the sale, or licensing the selling, or the manufacture of intoxicating liquors.’ In 1877, an interesting clarification of election law was passed by the Legislature, requiring separate ballots and separate ballot boxes for women voting in local elections, as they could only vote for ‘officers of public schools’ but not other officers of the village or city (Laws 1877, Chapter 74, Sec. 14).
As the national movement for suffrage gained strength, so did Minnesota’s movement for suffrage. Minnesota suffragists began to use new tactics such as parades, rallies, advertising, and promotional tours in newly purchased automobiles. They even had female stunt pilots put on aerial shows in support of suffrage. Clara Ueland served as MWSA President from 1914-1919, when the suffrage campaign in Minnesota gained significant momentum. In 1919, the Legislature passed a law allowing women to vote for presidential electors (Laws 1919, Chapter 89), and later in the year ratified the national amendment ensuring universal suffrage. Other prominent organizers for suffrage in Minnesota included Sarah Burger Stearns, Julia Bullard Nelson, Ethel Edgerton Hurd, Emily Haskell Bright, Bertha Berglin Moller, Emily Gilman Noyes, and Nellie Griswold Francis.
Though suffrage granted all women in the United States the right to vote, certain populations were not allowed to become full citizens which denied the women of these populations the right to vote. For example, Native Americans were not granted citizenship until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. And despite passage of that law, states still could decide whether or not Native Americans could vote.”**
Below is a common argument given in opposition to suffrage by J.B. Sandford. Note that he is the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in California and not a Minnesota politician.
“Woman suffrage has been proven a failure in states that have tried it. It is wrong. California should profit by the mistakes of other states. Not one reform has equal suffrage effected. On the contrary, statistics go to show that in most equal suffrage states, Colorado particularly, that divorces have greatly increased since the adoption of the equal suffrage amendment, showing that it has been a home destroyer. Crime has also increased due to lack of the mothers in the home.
Woman is woman. She can not unsex herself or change her sphere. Let her be content with her lot and perform those high duties intended for her by the Great Creator, and she will accomplish far more in governmental affairs that she can ever accomplish by mixing up in the dirty pool of politics. Keep the home pure and all will be well with the Republic. Let not the sanctity of the home be invaded by every little politician that may be running up and down the highway for office. Let the manly men and the womanly women defeat this amendment and keep woman where she belongs in order that she may retain the respect of all mankind.”***
So here we begin our prayer today Lord, we have judged Your image within male and female. Suffragettes have judged the males and male leadership of this era and found it wanting. Their opponents have judged the females and female leadership roles and found them wanting. Will You forgive both of these schools of judgment?
Wise Judge, will You parse and expose the motives of women who were submitted to abusive men? Will You forgive these men their false forms of leadership based on the letter of Your law but missing its Spirit? Your example, Messiah, was to love Your bride, serve Your bride, and lay down your life for hers. Will You forgive the unwillingness to love in this kind of male, and his progeny? We have loved our male image and missed Your incarnation in the female image. Have mercy!
This leads me to the question; where did these misbeliefs come from regarding male leadership? Certainly it’s not of Your word or of Your example. Will You show us what Your example looked like, Kind Master?
“According to New Testament scholar Dr. Frank Stagg and classicist Evelyn Stagg, the synoptic Gospels of the canonical New Testament contain a relatively high number of references to women. Evangelical Bible scholar Gilbert Bilezikian agrees, especially by comparison with literary works of the same epoch. :p.82 Neither the Staggs nor Bilezikian find any recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, reproaches, or stereotypes a woman. These writers claim that examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his attitudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women. Starr writes that of all founders of religions and religious sects, Jesus stands alone as the one who did not discriminate in some way against women. By word or deed he never encouraged the disparagement of a woman.Karen King concludes, based on the account of Jesus’ interaction with a Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28, that “an unnamed Gentile woman taught Jesus that the ministry of God is not limited to particular groups and persons, but belongs to all who have faith.”
We give You praise for this example of women gaining their participation in the decisions of Minnesota, and the United States. We thank You for the examples of: Sarah Burger Stearns, Julia Bullard Nelson, Ethel Edgerton Hurd, Emily Haskell Bright, Bertha Berglin Moller, Emily Gilman Noyes, and Nellie Griswold Francis. Will You rmember them in this era, and bless their figurative and literal children?
Will You shield them from recreating the excesses of male leadership of this era, and cause us to rely on both male and female forms of leadership? We thank You for the honest opposition to suffrage in men like J.B. Sandford. Will You help male leadership to speak the truth in love, and banish law made in fear of female authority? Will You shield men from becoming passive in reaction to these past errors, and recoiling from proper leadership in shame? Will You forgive us both our denials?
We praise You that our rights in Your kingdom cannot be broken! We thank You that our self-worth and value is not based on the fickle winds of human politics and law! We thank You that Your law points out our separations in relationships with You and our neighbors, yet You have removed its power to convict and have become our restitution; the perfect blood sacrifice! We belong because You took our death sentence and criminality to the Cross. You, the Forgiver of All Defilements have stated for all eternity that we have become Your family! You have removed our sufferings and given us eternal suffrage! Amen!
***Full text of J.B. Sandford’s letter “Argument Against Women’s Suffrage”. https://sfpl.org/pdf/libraries/main/sfhistory/suffrageagainst.pdf
May 2, 1903
“The automobile era kicks off in Minnesota as a Packard in St. Paul receives license number 1. St. Paul’s first automobile fatality occurs just weeks later when a child is hit on Selby Avenue between Dale and St. Albans streets.** The city’s first automatic traffic signal lights up 20 years later; it stands on a ten-foot-tall pedestal at the intersection of Fifth and St. Peter streets.” *
Why is it that we take delight in travel, exploration, and pure speed, Lord? Let’s think about the progression a little. Human beings have used their legs for eons, then the legs of various animals, and next the vehicles of their own invention: boats, carts, sleds, etc. Soon, we figured out mechanical means to augment our human, wind, or animal-powered vehicles with the refinement of the steam engine. Eventually the limitations of that power pushed us to adopt the internal combustion engine. Now we are in the era of fuel cell engines, and the dawning of practical electrical-powered vehicles.
Again, moving around the wheel, full circle; why do we want or need to move faster, farther, on less fuel? Why is it that the human creature wants to explore its habitat, which is natural, but then push far past the limitations of its home? Are there examples in the animal kingdom of creatures that explore out of curiosity rather than as a means of survival? A dog will happily sniff the scents of Lake Superior if it has never visited it, but will it long to cross it and see the other side?
Or do we long to see that other side because of discontent? We may not appreciate or flourish in our current environment, and we wonder “ Is there a greener pasture out there somewhere?” Perhaps it’s boredom? We adopt routines that shape how we use time, but break with them in varying degrees dependent on our personalities and discipline. We feel the impulse to stop the cycle of repetition.
Regardless of our motives, I thank You for the gift of the automobile. I thank you for the day of May 2, 1903 and the willingness of the owner of the first car in Minnesota to explore a new mode of transportation. Thank you for the gift of the freedom to travel, and how that travel has benefitted generations of our state. Thank you for all the goods and services we access because the automobile led to the truck. Thank you for the imaginations of individuals like Etienne Lenoir, Niklaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Karl Benz, James Atkinson, Edward Butler, and Rudolf Diesel!
**See how far we’ve come in terms of safety over the past 115 years? http://amhistory.si.edu/onthemove/exhibition/exhibition_8_2.html
January 7, 1901 to January 4, 1905
“Samuel R. Van Sant takes office as the state’s 15th governor on January 7, 1901. He began his career as a riverboat builder on the Upper Mississippi. As Minnesota’s fifteenth governor, he led the fight to brake the runaway powers of the railroads.” *
Read an excerpt of what it meant to be a “trustbuster” in his era?
“The second was the establishment of the State Board of Control to take on the railroad monopolies. The old riverboat captain didn’t have much love for his main competition on the iron rails. He particularly detested the Northern Securities Company run by James J. Hill and J.P. Morgan. The jovial riverboat captain turned out to be a very determined trustbuster. Van Sant’s battle soon turned into one of the biggest court dramas to ever come out of Minnesota in this suit to dissolve the Hill-Morgan railroad monopoly. He soon won the backing of President Teddy Roosevelt under the newly passed Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1904 the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, upheld the determination that the Northern Securities Company was an illegal restraint of trade and the trust was broken up.” **
Father, thank you that Van Sant fought the monopolist powers of Minnesota in his term. His experience with the Northern Securities Company underscores an achilles heel of free markets; highly successful companies may eventually eliminate the competition in their fields and form monopolies or oligarchies. The most sought after form of land transportation of the North Star state was controlled by just two men; James J. Hill and J. P. Morgan.
You have given us clues in the Bible regarding property rights and ownership. Tribal allotment of specific geographic territories are described in the book of Joshua. All descendants of the sons of Jacob had land based on birthright. Land could be bought and sold, more like leased, but only for a fixed number of years until the Jubilee.
The Year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25:8-13 is a year of pardon, for personal sins, debts, release of slaves, and a return of tribal property. So, we currently practice ownership of property, but do not have a system for forgiveness whether personal, labor, or property-based. Some may argue that bankruptcy fulfills this role, but is incomplete when compared to the model of the Pentateuch.
Although the Supreme Court upheld the position of the people regarding the railroad monopolies, we have no universal reset button for society like You describe! How do we enact Your standards in modern society? We hold property, but are not tied to specific geography on the basis of our tribes unless we are Native Minnesotans. We are disconnected from the land, and from each other! Is it because there is so little forgiveness in our modern system based not on wealth, but debt?
That said, Merciful One, do not let us be vain towards the successful, or return shrewdness with the counter-judgment of punishment! Will You forgive Minnesota its bitterness towards Morgan and Hill, and their company? Will You forgive them their “drive to power”? Most cannot relate to the unchecked influence of men like Morgan and Hill, but perhaps they can relate in a smaller way. If we have the power to change everyday situations in our favor, will we use it? Or misuse it?
Father, will You forgive us when we look expectantly and only to our system for justice? We are vapors that dissipate in a day! You are the only unchangeable personality in the universe. You are self-content and not subject to bribery. Your integrity allows us to enter into justice if we are open to self-examination as well as other-examination!
**Tuma, John. “Let’s Not Go Backward.” Conservation Minnesota March 2012 Web. 22 Jun. 2013. http://www.conservationminnesota.org/news/headlines/lets-not-go-backward/
*** More flavor on Governor Van Sant? https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_van-sant_samuel.default.html
January 31, 1895 to January 2, 1899
“Lieutenant Governor D. M. (David Marston) Clough becomes the state’s 13th governor on Jan 31, 1895, when Governor Knute Nelson resigns to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. Clough’s first administration was notable for the ratification of significant amendments to the state constitution, including those establishing a Board of Pardons, withdrawing the right of aliens to vote, and authorizing municipalities to frame “home rule” charters. During his second term, narrowly won in 1896, the legislature raises taxes on several private industries and enacts child-labor laws.”*
Governor Clough seems to be a reformer,** and it is no wonder given the times he lived in. The Panic of 1893, started in European markets, and spread to the United States until 1897. It rocked everything, but Minnesotans probably felt it most in commodities: lumber, ore mining, farming, and the rails that delivered it all.
Changing the rules during the game is a delicate business, let alone the constitution of a State. The volume of changes Clough enacted suggests his reforms were supported by the people. But what is the spiritual weight of even one of these reforms?
Establishing a Board of Pardons may suggest a few motives. Minnesotans experienced the ‘power plays’ of economic interests; the farmers vs. the railroads, the individual landowner vs. the lumber barons, etc. Perhaps the Board of Pardons appealed to their sense of mercy to neighbors who experienced this type of injustice. Where there is favoritism under the law, hopelessness and bitterness are not far behind.
Here is where we appeal to You! As a Minnesotan, will You forgive us the anger and bitterness stemming from this era in the fields of lumber, mining, farming, and transportation? Will You release the justly offended parties from the weight of being right? Will You free the powerful from their offense of misusing their power to strip the rights, property, and humanity from those they opposed?
Eternal Father, one can still perceive the sadness of the Range, of Duluth Harbor, of small towns, farms, and Indian reservations where these conflicts arose. Will You change this atmosphere of the heart? Will You restore lost hope, property, and inheritances? Will You give favor to these specific peoples and geographic locations?
Will You bless the inheritance of Governor Clough, whether directly to his family of origin, or those who share his vision? Will You keep us from swinging to extremes? Will You help us stop the cycle of offense/counter offense, judgment/counter judgment?
- *More on David Marston Clough? https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_clough_david.default.html
***An Inventory of His Gubernatorial Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
January 5, 1887 to January 9, 1889
“A. R. McGill becomes the state’s 10th governor on January 5, 1887. During his term he recommends a revision of the railroad laws pertaining to transportation, storage, and grading of wheat; the watering of railroad stocks; a simplification of the tax laws; regulation of liquor; abolition of contract prison labor; establishment of a soldiers’ home; and creation of a Bureau of Labor Statistics.” *
Office of COUNTY AUDITOR, Marshall County Warren, Minn. March 16th 1887 Gov. A. R. McGill St. Paul, Minn. Honorable Sir: I enclose herewith Application from our County for Seed Grain, showing Number of Applicants and Amt of grain desired. We have allowed no one applicant to exceed the Maximum limit of $75.00 worth of grain, although many applied for much larger amounts. You will notice that the average am[oun]t we have allowed each applicant is only about $55.00 worth. We trust that you will allow our County a sufficient apportionment to cover the amount which we have asked for, as these applicants are certainly in needy circumstances. Trusting that our application is all correct and that there will be no delay in getting our apportionment, I am Sir Respectfully Yours, W. F. Powell Ch Bd. of Co. Commissioners Marshall County W. F. Powell. Co. Aud.
(March. 16th 1887 Matters relating to applications for seed grain relief)” **
Lord, this doesn’t seem like a man whose governorship aroused much controversy at first glance. However, each change in law impacted a powerful coalition or group of Minnesotans. Changing law often seems to use an element of force to exert authority. But how do You view the elimination of law from an eternal perspective?
From what I gather about local perceptions of Governor McGill, he had a mixed reviews. On one hand, he had to mediate between the powerful lobby of the rails, yet gain concessions much needed by Minnesota interests’: farming, lumber, and mining.
So what did he accomplish, and did he find a middle path?
“During his tenure, a state normal school was established in Moorhead; the improvement of state railroad laws was promoted; iron ore was discovered in the Mesabi Range; liquor regulations were supported; and a state school tax was sanctioned.” ***
Will You forgive our bitterness that comes with new laws whether local, state, or federal? Will You forgive us for the anger we have felt over the perceived loss of freedoms, liberties, and or benefits to us or our business? The state may attempt to take away rights that are not theirs, and give rights that they do not possess in the first place.
Lord, help us find the middle ground! Will You forgive our usurpation of the other man’s inalienable rights, and teach us how to better protect them in the future? May our civic laws never surpass our privilege to love You, the Lord our G-d, our neighbor, and ourselves!
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 ESV ****
1865 to 1895
“About 150 Dakota who assisted in the punitive expeditions are allowed to remain in Minnesota after the war. They take refuge on lands at Mendota and Faribault owned by Henry Sibley and the Faribault family. As the decades pass, more Dakota find their way back to traditional homelands, living near old villages at Prairie Island and the Upper and Lower Sioux Agencies. In 1889 Congress passes legislation allowing the Dakota to establish communities at Lower Sioux, Shakopee, and Prairie Island. A similar community at old Upper Sioux lands is established in 1938. These four communities are all that remain of federally recognized Dakota land in Minnesota. In addition, several Dakota communities are established in Canada.” *
Amazing! This is exactly the type of stuff that I have looked for during this effort. Here are layer upon layer of opportunities for the Enemy of All to build his evil networks to break the society that You have intended in this state of Minnesota. I’m blind apart from You Holy Spirit! I will tell You what I see. Will You guide my prayers and observations? Will You forgive my errors and move me to what is in Your heart?
Lord, is this an attempt to divide and create unforgiveness among brothers? Is this a task that is understandably messy because we are human beings? Proverbs 6:15,19 NIV tells us “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:” one of them being “ a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
Holy Spirit, we see the fruit of dissension sown among the Dakota people. Will You forgive the offense of the judgments these two groups had towards each other? Will You forgive this offense? Will You re-establish good faith and trust among the Dakota Nation? Will You establish good faith and trust between present Dakota Nations and Minnesota Nations? Will You bless and restore these parties to You, the land, and their generations? Will You break the power of the spirit “who stirs up dissension among brothers?”
December 26, 1862
“Of the hundreds of Dakota people who surrendered or were captured during the U.S.-Dakota War, 303 men are tried in a military court and convicted of rape and murder. At the urging of missionary Henry Whipple, President Abraham Lincoln reviews the convictions and commutes the sentences of 264 prisoners. Lincoln then signs the order condemning the remaining men to death by hanging. One prisoner is reprieved just before the sentencing is carried out. The remaining 38 men are hanged at Mankato on December 26, 1862—the largest mass execution in U.S. history.” *
Wow! That’s a sad title we own: “Minnesota, home of the largest mass execution in U.S. history.” Thank you for the merciful actions of Henry Whipple and President Lincoln. As a human being, I admit that I have the potential for hate, rape, and murder in my heart. All have offended Your perfection, yet we feel comforted by ranking our offense as lesser than our neighbor’s.
Will You forgive these hanged ones like You’ve forgiven all humanity? Will You restore them? Their generations? Their dwellings? Their lands? Their belief in the law and justice? Will You restore those who acted treacherously to foment this war: politicians, chiefs, business leaders, soldiers of the U.S. army or of the Dakota Nation, men, women, and children?
Will You forgive them for taking the bait of the enemy; the first offense? Will You forgive their offenders their profound lack of judgment by first executing their will to execute?Will You bring us all into chesed with You and as Minnesotans?
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!
“Dred and Harriet Scott, slaves who lived at Fort Snelling in the 1830s, claim they became free in Minnesota, where slavery was illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that, because they returned to Missouri where slavery is legal, they are still the property of their owners.
In 1836, the African American slave Dred Scott was brought to Fort Snelling by his owner, Dr. John Emerson. While at the fort, Scott married another slave, Harriet. Later, Emerson moved to St. Louis, taking his slaves, the Scotts, with him. In 1846, Dred Scott sued for his freedom. He claimed that, since he had been taken to live at Fort Snelling–at the time part of Wisconsin Territory, where slavery was prohibited–he was a free man.
In March 1857, after 11 years of trials and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court declares that because Scott isn’t a citizen of Missouri (a slave isn’t allowed to be a citizen), he’s not entitled to sue in its courts; and that slaves are property and that no law can deprive a person–that is, a white slaveowner–of his rights to life, liberty, and property.” *
Christ have mercy! We often want privileges under the law for ourselves, and not for others. This is not Your example. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1,2 Jesus, You submitted to the limitations of this world. You went from the total freedom of heaven to living in Satan’s jurisdiction. You know what it’s like to have Your rights curtailed! Thank you that You are able to relate to everyone who has endured under slavery, and that You never knelt to hatred of authority.
Firstly, bless Dred and Harriet Scott, their generations, and their dwellings in Jesus’ name! Thanks for giving him the boldness to challenge the system. Forgive our system for allowing human beings to ever be classified as ‘property’! May we inherit a heart to challenge falsehoods and misbeliefs of our state.
Secondly, forgive Missouri and the U. S. Supreme Court this offense against You, and the inalienable rights You’ve freely given to all people, everywhere, at all times. You made all men in your image! You’ve made all women in Your image! Is not an affront to one an attempt at mutiny? You are our God, and we are Your people!
Third, forgive the judgment made against the Scotts’, and counter-judgments made towards Minnesota, Missouri, or the U.S. in general. Will You release us from our heritage of bitter judgments and curses, and make the way for forgiveness and blessing?