The Effects of Dred Scott V. Sanford



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The Effects of Dred Scott V. Sanford

The Dred Scott case was a very influential case during the 1800's that created much domestic disturbance. The case is known as Dred Scott v. Sanford, and it took place in 1857. It was a Supreme Court case, with Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, that involved the freedom of a slave Dred Scott. Scott argued he should be granted his freedom because his slave-owner, Dr. John Emerson, moved him to a state where slavery was outlawed. His argument was that he was a slave who was taken to a free state, Illinois, and then to a free territory, Minnesota, and finally to a slave state, Missouri. Scott argued that he should be granted his freedom because he was a slave in a free area for an extended period of time, and he should be free.



Scott decided to sue for his freedom in April of 1846. His case first went to the local Missouri Court who sided with Scott and granted him his freedom. Emerson appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court, which said that Scott was still a slave and that the ruling by the lower court was unofficial. Scott appealed this ruling to the United States Supreme Court, who ruled that all African Americans were not citizens of the United States, and that they were "beings of an inferior order" who are not included in the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, Scott had no right to legally sue someone. Also, they ruled that the outlaw of slavery in the Minnesota Territory was unconstitutional, therefore ruling the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. They argued that they could not deny citizens the right to property, without due process. Lastly, the court ruled that Dred Scott was not free because of basic laws in Missouri that made him a slave.

This case had a huge effect on federalism, and it greatly changed the scope of politics in the country. This court decision gave more power to the National Government, because it took power away from the states. It overturned the Missouri Compromise and took away some of the sovereignty of the states. It ruled that states could not deny citizens the right to property in territories without due process, and therefore gave more power to the laws of the National Government. Today, the ruling on this case has had some impact on politics. During the Bush v. Gore case, the Supreme Court referred to the ruling in the Dred Scott case, as both being a "self-inflicted wound" that would take some time to recover from. The case also had an effect on the abortion movement in the United States, as people compared the two cases, and how the court meddled unnecessarily. The Dred Scott decision had a huge impact on the country as it instigated the Civil War, and brought up the Civil Rights movement as well. The court's decision will always be referred to in future cases, and it had a huge effect on the country.


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