Dred Scott v. Sanford

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Dred Scott, an African American man who was born into slavery, wanted what all slaves would have wanted, their freedom. They were mistreated, neglected, and treated not as humans, but as property. In 1852, Dred Scott sued his current owner, Sanford, about him, no longer being a slave, but a free man (Oyez 1). In Article four of the Constitution, it states that any slave, who set foot in a free land, makes them a free man. This controversy led to the ruling of the state courts and in the end, came to the final word of the Supreme Court. Is he a slave or a free man? Being born into slavery meant that Dred Scott had been exchanged from owners to owners (Knappman 16-17). His first owner, the Blows, died, and before their death, they sold Scott to Dr. Emerson. Dr. Emerson soon gave Scott away to his wife’s brother, Sanford (Knappman 16-17). Scott tried to buy his freedom away from Dr. Emerson’s wife but she just wouldn’t accept (Dred Scott Decision 1). Since Scott moved from place to place as a slave, he was able to go to Illinois, which was a free state (Richie 40). Because of the Constitution, Scott used his rights to sue Sanford claiming that he was a free man (Richie 40). With this in mind, it lead to arguments about both parties, the prosecuted and the defendant. With the help of the antislavery lawyers, they were able to assist the prosecution, Dred Scott, with his court case (Dred Scott Decision 1). Unfortunately, in the first trial, Scott lost due to the reason of not having enough evidence (Dred Scott Decision 1). Scott, determined to get his freedom, was given the chance for a second trial (“Dred Scott Case Collection”). Their main argument, about Sanford violating his Fifth Amendment rights, made them win their case in their second trial (Justia 1). The Fifth Amendment mentions that a person’s life, liberty, or property cannot be taken away without due process of law. They were taking away Scott’s liberty, but he deserved to be free because he was taken to a free state (Dred Scott Decision 1). Does this whole controversy end there? With Sanford losing in the second trial, it did not just end there. Sanford’s sister, Mrs. Emerson, appealed and because of that, it went to the Missouri Supreme Court (“Dred Scott Case Collection”).
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