Essay on The Impact of the Dred Scott Case on the United States

Essay on The Impact of the Dred Scott Case on the United States

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The Impact of the Dred Scott Case on the United States

The Dred Scott Case had a huge impact on the United States as it is today. The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments have called it the worst Supreme Court decision ever rendered and was later overturned. The Dred Scott Decision was a key case regarding the issue of slavery; the case started as a slave seeking his rightful freedom and mushroomed into a whole lot more. 65
The reason why Dred Scott decided to pursue his freedom is unknown, but there are a couple theories. For example, it is believed that “most likely, Scott decided to bring his case to court after years of [talks] with other slaves that had done the same.” (Herda, 30) This shows that, Scott was not an ignorant, uninformed man and had reason to believe he could obtain freedom for himself and his family. This also shows that he took a long look at the issue before making the decision to sue for his freedom. In addition, he may have also been convinced by “several talks with his old friends, the Blows, who were sympathetic to his troubles.” (Herda, 30) This shows that his previous owners, turned friends, the Blows, may have been a major influence; being Scott’s staunch supporters throughout his life. This also shows that the Blows encouragement, on top of other slave’s actions, may have been what finally convinced Scott to pursue the suit for his freedom. In conclusion, several factors convinced Scott to sue for his freedom including the opinion of his previous owners, the Blows. 188
It is also possible that his original lawyer Samuel Mansfield Bay saw opportunities for a large reward due to his services to Scott, and initiated litigation. For example, some feel that Bay’s “object was to pave the way for a suit against the Emerson estate for the twelve years’ wages to which Scott would be entitled to,” (Herda, 29) should he win the case. This shows that, money could have been the driving force behind this case. This also shows that Scott may have been persuadable to another person’s reasons for pursuing the case. In addition, if this was true and Scott “had been illegally held as a slave since 1834.” (Herda, 30) This shows that, he would have the right to compensation, and therefore be entitled to what would be a lot of money. This also shows, how a mistake by a master in his traveling...


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...he [lack] of jurisdiction in that court.” (SD) This shows that, Chief Justice Taney and the others had decided that finding the other court had no ability to rule as it had was all they needed to address. This also shows, how in a bias court (pro-slavery) that a decision could be tainted. In conclusion, the Supreme Court decided Dred Scott could remain a slave, and that they did not support the limiting of slavery. 225
In Conclusion, the Dred Scott Decision took a long drawn out journey through the court system to be literally, and figuratively dismissed. It addressed a subject, which was not popular, freedom for slaves, and went through several courts, without receiving any merit. While it is not a well-known case, it is on point as to the conflicts over slavery, and how they led to the Civil War. It has been considered the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court, and for good reason. 84


Works Cited

Herda, D.J. The Dred Scott Case: Slavery and Citizenship
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey Enslow Publishers, 1994.

Lukes, Bonnie. The Dred Scott Decision San Diego, California,
Lucent Books, 1997

URL : http://www.nara.gov/exhall/originals/scott.html

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