Dred Scott Vs. Sandford

1059 Words5 Pages
In 1857, the United States Supreme Court made a stunning decision to uphold slavery in the territories, denied the legality of black citizenship, and declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court case, DRED SCOTT VS. SANDFORD reached the Supreme Court in 1857 after the Missouri Supreme Court against Scott in 1852. Scott’s next step was to take his case out of the state judicial system and into the federal judicial system. After going through the U.S Circuit Court for the District of Missouri it was finally heard by the Supreme Court. A case primarily fought for the freedom of one man became one of the catalyst for sectional sentiment that would lead to secession and war. Background- Dred Scott was born to slave parents In Virginia, moved to Missouri with his owners, and then sold to army doctor John Emerson. As an army doctor, Emerson travelled to various places for extended periods of time. Dred Scott would often come with him and stay in places like Fort Armstrong, Illinois. He lived in areas that were considered “free”; Illinois was a free state and Wisconsin was closed off from slavery through the Missouri Compromise. After Dr. Emerson passed away, he lived in St. Louis and was the property of Emerson’s wife. Scott began his long journey to attain his freedom, when he declared that Mrs. Emerson had "beat, bruised, and ill-treated him". Scott declared that he was free and would fight for his freedom and rights regardless of how long it took. Legal Precedent- Dred Scott declared he was free by virtue of his residence in Fort Armstrong and Fort Snelling. Legal precedence was on his side, The Missouri Supreme court has freed many slaves who had travel to Free states with their owners. In the Miss... ... middle of paper ... ...to deprive a citizen of his property without due process of law. Taney believed that the compromise deprived the slaveholding citizens of the territories their property. By declaring the Missouri compromise unconstitutional, he destroyed Stephan A. Douglas’ principle of popular sovereignty. Without popular sovereignty protecting the interest of those territories who wished to be free slavery had a chance to spread to all territories. Dred Scotts Aftermath Dred Scott still had a chance to achieve his freedom. The Chief Justice could decide that he was free because of his stay in the free state of Illinois. Taney did not make a decision, he believed that cases in which slaves have been taken to a free state and returned to the slave state was dependent on the State Law. He dismissed the case base upon lack of jurisdiction and sent the case back to the lower courts.
Open Document