Dred Scott

In: Historical Events

Submitted By jordanleigh17
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The Dred Scott Decision (1857)

Jordan Stuart

History 121- Early America to the Civil War
Professor Hamilton
November 11, 2013 Dred Scott, who was born into slavery in Virginia, moved with his owner to St. Louis, Missouri. After Scott’s original owner had died the ownership was sold to John Emerson. Throughout many years Dred Scott moved with John Emerson to many free states. Once Emerson died, the ownership of Dred Scott was passed to Irene Sanford Emerson, John Emerson’s wife. At this point Scott attempted to buy his freedom but Irene refused, thus creating an uprising of controversial court cases. Dred Scott claimed he had become free while living in free states and that once free he could not be reenslaved. Dred Scott fought for his freedom in court until his case made it to the Supreme Court. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 ruled that African-Americans, free or enslaved, could never be citizens of the United States and held no rights under the Constitution. This decision proved to have a dramatic effect on American politics. The ruling of Chief Justice Taney was the most important decision ever issued on slavery. The Dred Scott decision was controversial, raising many questions regarding African Americans as citizens, whether or not the congress had the right to prohibit slavery in any territory, and the equality of all men under the Declaration of Independence. The question brought up in court was whether a negro whose ancestors were imported into the United States and sold as slaves become a member of the community, either politically or socially. The court ruled that as a black man, Scott was omitted from United States citizenship. According to the opinion of the court, African-Americans were not included in the “Sovereign People” who made the Constitution. The decision meant that Scott had no right to sue in court because neither slaves nor free…...

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