Dred Scott Case Facts

Dred Scott Case Facts
The landmark United States Supreme Court Case, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), often known simply as the "Dred Scott Decision," held that blacks were not American citizens, even if they were born free, and could not sue in federal court. The specific case was the result of a lawsuit filed by a slave named Dred Scott, who argued that since he had lived in free states and territories where slavery was expressly forbidden, then he should be considered free. Although Scott lost his case in 1857, a sea of political and legal changes followed. Scott and his wife were manumitted in May 1857 and lived the rest of their lives as freedmen in the state of Missouri. The ruling was one of many issues that led to the American Civil War, as abolitionists and free soil advocates saw it as allowing slavery in any of the western territories and that war would be the only answer to stop slavery's spread. The Dred Scott Decision was effectively overturned by the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1868
Interesting Dred Scott Case Facts:
Dred Scott was born a slave in Virginia in 1795 and later moved to Alabama and then St. Louis, Missouri with his owner, Peter Blow
Blow sold Scott to an army surgeon named John Emerson in 1830, who was the owner Scott would spend most of his life with.
Scott lived in Fort Snelling (current day St. Paul, Minnesota) in what was at the time Wisconsin Territory. Although slavery was illegal in the Wisconsin Territory, Emerson violated the law by leasing Scott's services to others.
Scott married another slave, Harriet Robinson, while he was at Fort Snelling.
Scott's legal fees were often paid for by abolitionists and others sympathetic to his cause. Some lawyers took his case pro bono.
Scott brought his case to trial three times: the first two times in Missouri state court against his owner's widow, Irene Emerson, in 1846 and 1850, and the third time in federal court against what was at the time his final owner, John Sanford.
While Scott's case was working its way through the courts, he and his wife were placed under the custody of St. Louis County Sheriff's and leased out for work.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 against Scott, with Chief Justice Robert B. Taney stating in the majority decision that even free blacks could not claim any "of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States."
Justices John McLean and Benjamin Robbins Curtis were the two dissenting votes.
Ironically, Irene Emerson married noted abolitionist Calvin Chafee in 1850.
Fearing that the decision would result in political violence in the west between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups, many railroad companies folded and construction of east-west lines were all but abandoned until after the Civil War.
Dred Scott died of tuberculosis on November 7, 1858.
In recent years, both conservative and liberal Supreme Court justices have referenced Dred Scott v. Sandford as an example of bad law and a terrible court decision.

Related Links:
Black History Facts
Animals Facts