Who was Dred Scott?

Who was Dred Scott?


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Who was Dred Scott?

Dred Scott was an African American who moved to a free territory with his owner and sued for his emancipation.  Dred Scott took it to court and it then ended up at the supreme court. The case was called Dred Scott vs Sandford , Argued February 11–14, 1856 and decided Decided March 6, 1857. Unfortunately he lose to a 7/2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request. For only the second time to that point in its history, the Supreme Court ruled an Act of Congress (Missouri Compromise of 1820) to be unconstitutional.

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dred and harriet map


I Wonder who went to court with Dred Scott. Were they surprised by Judge Taney’s majority opinion? Why did his owner move?  Does this show the western movement of people for greater opportunity? This case points out the need for the 14th Amendment to the US. Constitution which declared citizenship for blacks.  It angered abolitionists because it valued Mr. Sanford’s private property rights over Mr. Scott’s human rights and it pointed out the injustice of citizenship laws under the current U.S. Constitution.  Its interesting to know that the two judges who voted against the majority decided that blacks could be allowed citizenship based on the fact that there were some voting free blacks at the time of the U.S. Constitution’s writing and ratification  in 1787 and 1789.  The outcome of this case became a trigger to the emotional response of abolitionists willing to fight.

 Have we formed a more perfect union?

This phrase that comes from the preamble is a great phrase it gives us hope that we can move in to the right direction.

How does society today compare to society at the time of this decision?

The society today is quite different but, we still have echos of from the days of Dred Scott. It seems like the African American culture and the immigrants still gets treated horribly like the society in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Of course we have our freedom and rights but it seems like the whites have the upper hand over these ethnic groups. Overall the society is more diverse and connected because of technology and transportation. More people come together and most people realize that we all are here no matter what.


 Even though he lost the case how did Dred Scott help us move forward in forming a more perfect union?

It took a lot of time to change and to enforce this law. Dred Scoot took us in the direction in to the 13th 14th and 15th amendment. He even influenced women’s right to vote which is the 19th amendment. Was motivated by the Dred Scott. Although it triggered the civil war it also gave us the vision on Abraham Lincoln, his Gettysburg Address and the emancipation proclamation.