Dred Scott Essay

414 words - 2 pages

Scott vs. Sanford (1857) In 1857, one of the most memorable cases in Supreme Court history took place. The plaintiff of this famous case was Dred Scott. Dred Scott was born around 1800 in Virginia. Scott was the slave of Dr. John Emerson, who bought Scott from Peter Blow. John Emerson was a United States Army surgeon. When Emerson moved from Missouri to Illinois he took Scott with him. After two and a half years in Illinois Emerson moved with Scott to Wisconsin. Illinois and Wisconsin at the time prohibited slavery. They later ...view middle of the document...

Scott then brought a new lawsuit to a Federal Court. Eventually the case got to the United States Supreme Court in 1857, where Scott appealed his case. John F. Sanford served as the defendant in this case. Sanford was the owner of Scott at the time of the appeal to the United States Supreme Court. He was the brother of John Emerson's widow. Scott sued Mrs. Emerson for his freedom at first. Later Sanford took ownership of Scott. After this happened Scot filed a new lawsuit against Sanford. He argued that blacks could never be citizens of the United States and therefore could never sue in federal court as a citizen. He used Article III of the Constitution in his defense.The decision of the case was read in March of 1857. Dred Scott was ruled a slave and not entitled to sue in court. Under Articles III and IV of the Constitution, Chief Justice Taney ruled Scott could not be a citizen of the United States. It was a seven to two majority. The decision greatly influenced the election of Abraham Lincoln as President and the South's succession from the Union. This decision also declared the Missouri Compromise, which restricted slavery in some areas, unconstitutional. This decision was very controversial.

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