Writing Across the Curriculum: The Dred Scott Case

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Writing Across the Curriculum: The Dred Scott Case

In 1834, Dred Scott, a slave, was taken by his owner from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois. Later they went to Wisconsin, another free state. When Scott and his master returned to Missouri, Scott filed a lawsuit claiming he was free since he had lived in a free state.

Abolitionists from the North raised enough money to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In March 1857, the Supreme Court ruled on the case. The Justices said that Scot could not sue because he was a slave, and slaves were not citizens. The Court also said Congress had no right to stop slavery in territories. The Dred Scott decision further divided the North and South and pushed them closer to war.

Writing Prompt:

Imagine you are the attorney (lawyer) representing Dred Scott. Write a convincing argument for why Dred Scott deserved his freedom. Make sure to include facts from above. Also, remember that your audience is the Supreme Court—you must be respectful and professional. MUST BE AT LEAST 8 SENTENCES.

Standard: SS8H6a

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