Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Roger B. Taney (1833–1834): Secretary of the Treasury

Roger B. Taney was born March 17, 1777, in Calvert County, Maryland. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1795, studied law, and was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1799. Taney was elected to the state legislature (1799), practiced law in Frederick (1801-1816), was elected to the Maryland Senate (1816-1821), and was appointed Maryland attorney general (1827).

President Andrew Jackson appointed Taney U.S. attorney general (1831-1833) and would later tap him as secretary of the treasury (1833-1834). Taney became chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1836 and remained in that post until 1864; he delivered the majority opinion in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, holding that Congress lacked the authority to ban slavery in the territories. Roger Taney died in office, in Washington, D.C., on October 12, 1864.

For further reading:

Taylor, Samuel. Memoir of Roger Brooke Taney, LL. D., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1876.

Lewis, Walker. Without Fear or Favor: A Biography of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.

Swisher, Carl B. Roger B. Taney. New York: Macmillan, 1935.