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The Dred Scott Decision

The Dred Scott Decision

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The Dred Scott Decision

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  1. The Dred Scott Decision By Joe Boudreau and Chris Byrne

  2. Background • Dred Scott was a slave from Missouri. • He had lived in free land in Illinois for four years with his owner, John Emerson. • His owner died shortly after his return to Missouri.

  3. Scott sued Emerson’s widow for his freedom, since he had lived in Illinois, which was free territory. At first, he won. The decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, where Roger B. Taney was Chief Justice. How the Case Started

  4. The Supreme Court Decision • The Supreme Court Justices were mainly proslavery. • The court ruled that since slaves were not US citizens, they could not testify in court at all. • There was also debate over whether or not Scott had gained his freedom at all by living in a free state and then going back to Missouri.

  5. Taney’s Ruling • Chief Justice Taney argued that slaves were not, and could never be, federal citizens, on the basis that the right to grant federal citizenship was held exclusively by Congress. • Taney then claimed that as long as the Constitution endorsed slavery, it could not be forbidden by any state or territory, and that the Missouri Compromise was therefore unconstitutional. This enraged antislavery and abolitionist Northerners.

  6. “The African race in the United States even when free, are everywhere a degraded class, and exercise no political influence. The privileges they are allowed to enjoy, are accorded to them as a matter of kindness and benevolence rather than right… They are not looked upon as citizens by the contracting parties who formed the Constitution. They were evidently not supposed to be included by the term citizens.” -Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney

  7. Above: Roger B. Taney

  8. Bibliography • Danzer, GA. (2003). The americans. Boston, MA, USA: McDougall Littell. • Finkelman, P. (1997). Dred scott v. sanford. Boston, MA, US: Bedford Books. • •