Dred Scott v. Sandford. By Chloe Sturges. Overview.
By Chloe Sturges
Dred Scott, a slave in the 1800s, was taken out of Missouri, a slave state, by his owner John Emerson (an army surgeon) to military bases in free territories Illinois and Wisconsin, and then taken back to Missouri after a few years. His owner died soon after their return, and Scott was passed to John Sanford. Scott believed he should be freed on grounds that he had lived in free territory and should therefore be emancipated. His case eventually came before the supreme court, led by Chief Justice Robert B. Taney, a slavery supporter. The Court ruled that persons descended from African slaves could not become citizens even if they were freed, and therefore were not entitled to protection under the constitution. The Court also ruled that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional because Congress had no right to prohibit slavery, due to the fact that slaves were property and the Constitution protected the right to property.
Robert B. Taney
Dred Scott’s wife, Harriet
St. Louis Misouri, location of early court proceedings
Washington D.C., location of Supreme Court hearing
Free territories Scott lived in
Once Dred Scott and his family were finally freed in 1858, they lived in St. Louis Missouri, where Scott was a local celebrity until his death only 18 months later. He died of tuberculosis in 1858.
Roger Taney remained Chief Justice until after the Civil was began, although by that time he was hated by both the North and South, including president Lincoln.
The United States Constitution
Scott v. Sandford – full text