|Name ________________ Date ___________
Mr. Doherty Social Studies - __
Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott vs Sanford 1857
In 1846, Dred Scott, a slave, sued in a Missouri court for his freedom from his master. Dred Scott had lived for many years in Missouri. Later, he moved with his owner to Illinois and then to the Wisconsin Territory, where slavery was not allowed. Scott argued that his service for Dr. Emerson in Illinois (a free state), made him a free man. Eventually, the case reached the Supreme Court. Instead of bringing harmony, the Court’s decision further divided the North and South. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 against Scott.
The most important point in this case was that African Americans were not considered people, but property, and since they were property they could not petition for rights. Chief Justice Taney wrote that it was “too clear to dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended” by the men that signed the Declaration of Independence to be included as citizens.
Scott lost the case and this further separated the Northern and Southern states. Slavery was the foundation of Southern economy and society. The north was effected by the growing abolitionist and universal movement against slavery. White Southerners rejoiced at the decision, which meant that slavery was legal in all the territories. Northerners were shocked and appalled. They feared the spread of slavery into the West. The Dred Scott case only added to the growing anti-slavery movement and divisions between the two regions of the world.
1. What did the U.S. Supreme Court decide in the case of Dred Scott vs Sanford, 1857?
2. How did the South react to this decision?
3. How did the North react to this decision?