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A Case For Freedom Dred Scott V. Sanford 1846-1857
Background • Dred Scott purchased by John Emerson from the family of Peter Blow • Emerson, military physician was stationed at Rock Island, IL (Free State) • Emerson, Transferred to Fort Snelling (Modern day St. Paul, MN.) (Federal Territory – Slavery prohibited) • Dred Scott met and married Harriet Robinson at Fort Snelling • Emerson Transferred to Fort Jesup in western Louisiana. • Emerson met and married Irene Sanford while stationed at Fort Jesup
Emerson transferred back to Fort Snelling accompanied by his new wife and the Scotts • Emerson transferred to Florida while Mrs. Emerson and the Scotts now with two children move to St. Louis and wait for his return. • Emerson discharged from service in 1842. • 1843 Emerson dies. • Dred Scott and family are loaned to Mrs. Emerson’s brother-in-law. • Later returned in to Mrs. Emerson in St. Louis in 1846.
The Argument • On return to St. Louis Scott wanted freedom for himself and his family. • Receives support from the Blow family. • Irene Emerson wanted to retain ownership. • Dred Scott and his wife bring separate suits against Mrs. Emerson. • Two Cases eventually combined into one
Scott’s Attorneys argued that by holding him as a slave in Illinois (free state) and Federal Territory that Emerson had thereby emancipated him.
Missouri Courts • Missouri State Circuit Court ruled against Scott to a technical deficiency in preparing his case. • Judge Granted a motion for a new trial. • Mrs. Emerson’s counsel challenged the motion in Missouri Supreme Court. • Missouri Supreme Court sides with Scott for new trial. • New trial in 1850 declares Scott a free man
Mrs. Emerson appeals to Missouri State Supreme Court. • In 1852 Missouri Supreme Court rules against Scott, and declares that Missouri will no longer enforce other state antislavery laws on its own citizens. • In Missouri Scott remained a slave Missouri State Court Documents
Federal Court • Scott vs. Emerson becomes Scott vs. Sandford (Sanford) • Federal Jury sides with Sanford • Writ of error takes Scott vs. Sandford to the U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court • February 1856 Supreme court case begins • Sanford’s argument • Fears of Disunion delay case • December 1856 Case re-opened • March 5th 1857 7 of 9 court justices rule against Scott. Ruling that Scott was never a citizen of the United States.
Ruled Against Scott Chief Justice Taney Justice Wayne Justice Nelson Justice Grier Justice Daniel Justice Campbell Justice Catron Ruled for Scott Justice McLean Justice Curtis Court Justices
Effects of the Case • Kansas Nebraska Act 1854 • Missouri Compromise declared unconstitutional • Division in the Democratic Party • The rise of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party