The Dred Scott Decision

Dred Scott was born a slave in Virginia before 1800. . In 1820, his owner, Peter Blow, took Scott to Missouri. His owner died in 1832 and Scott was bought by Dr. John Emerson, an Army surgeon. Scott traveled with Emerson to Illinois,Wisconsin, and finally St. Louis. His owners hired him out to work which was against the law.  After Dr. Blow died, Scott wanted to buy his and his families freedom. Although they had lived for decades in free states and territories, Mrs. Blow refused. The Scotts sued.

The Dred Scott Decision was probably the most important Supreme Court decision related to slavery. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens. With their decision, the Supreme Court nullified the Northwest Ordinance, the Missouri Compromise, and the Wisconsin Enabling Act, all of which was aimed at eventually eliminating slavery. Mr. Scott and his family was purchased and freed by the Blow family, the original owners.

The uproar caused by the decision further encouraged the anti-slavery movement. It was a topic of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and may have been a contributing cause to the Civil Way.  Tomorrow, Slavery in Modern Times.         Rita Bay

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