Supreme court ruling of dred scott

The Supreme Court Ruling of Dred Scott

What was the determination and what did it make?

In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott declaring that any black, whether they were a slave or non, could non claim rightful citizenship in the United States of America. They were considered single pieces of belongings, hence ; had no right to make so. “ By a ballot of seven to two the Supreme Court held Scott was still a slave. “ [ 1 ] “ The Court declared it violated the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits Congress from striping individuals of their belongings without due procedure of jurisprudence. “ [ 2 ] This opinion overturned more than thirty old ages of the Missouri Compromise, declaring it unconstitutional, accordingly leting bondage in all freshly developed districts. [ 3 ] The opinion of the Supreme Court had a important impact on the issue of bondage. It intensified already turning tensenesss between the North and the South both politically and socially, and played an of import function in the increasing pro and anti-slavery attitudes. I believe that the determination made by the Supreme Court was morally and ethically incorrect and it did non admit the right for all people to be equal as stated by the writers of the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be axiomatic, that all work forces are created equal, that they are endowed by their Godhead with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the chase of Happiness. [ 4 ]

What caused this instance?

Dred Scott was purchased by Army Major John Emerson. Emerson was sporadically being reassigned to different parts of the state, hence ; he had to convey Dred Scott with him. They visited free provinces and districts such as Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory. Dred had lived in these announced free districts and provinces for many old ages. John Emerson left the Army in 1842, and shortly after, in 1843, he died. Eliza, Emerson ‘s married woman, claimed Dred Scott as her ain, since she inherited all of John ‘s properties. Scott attempted to buy his freedom but Eliza would non let it. After confer withing with his legal adviser, Scott sued Eliza for his freedom. [ 5 ] Scott argued that he had lived in the free province of Illinois, and the Wisconsin Territory, where bondage was prohibited harmonizing to the Missouri Compromise, which consequentially made him a free adult male. This instance finally ended up traveling to the United States Supreme Court where it would do much contention.

What were the societal issues?

After the opinion, many people in the North began to worry about the enlargement of bondage. Harmonizing to the Supreme Court, the United States could no longer modulate or enforce Torahs on the enlargement of bondage in the development districts. Northerners now feared that it would quickly spread out into the western districts, and accordingly into the free provinces. [ 6 ] President Abraham Lincoln noticed this fright among people and addressed it in his House Divided Speech in Springfield, Illinois.

We shall lie down cheerily woolgathering that the people of Missouri are on the brink of doing their State free, and we shall wake up to the world alternatively, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State. [ 7 ]

Another individual that was really interested in this subject was Frederick Douglas and he was ferocious when this determination was passed. He, along with many Northerners, believed that the Missouri Compromise was non unconstitutional and the Supreme Court, which was led by a Southerner, was prefering the South.

When I heard the determination, I was ferocious. It was as if the full federal authorities sanctioned the spread of bondage in America. The logical thinking was wholly fake because Taney and other Southern racialist justnesss insisted that the fundamental law allowed bondage as white people ‘s right to belongings. If you read the article IV of the US Constitution, you will easy happen out that the Congress shall hold Power to dispose of and do all needed regulations and Regulations esteeming the District or other Property belonging to the United States. In other words, our Congress is empowered to do regulations in districts. The Missouri Compromise was non unconstitutional at all. It was created by Congress, and congresswomans from the North and the south agreed that districts above 36’60 ” would non go slave provinces. It is upsetting that the Scott ‘s instance gave those Southern justnesss the chance to take that understanding. It was as if Taney intentionally ignored some parts of the Constitution to promote the spread of bondage. [ 8 ]

After this instance, people in the North decided if they did non halt the enlargement, their provinces might be overrun by bondage. This turning fright in the North contributed greatly to the lifting tensenesss between the North and the South taking up to the Civil War. Northerners felt like the Southern values of life was being forced upon them, and this instance helped to prolong the Southern thought that slaves were non human existences, but a mere piece of belongings that had no legal rights or autonomies.

What were the political issues?

Chief Justice Roger Taney presented the bulk sentiment on the Dred Scott instance, and it was a major letdown to the Republicans. It infuriated many people further divided the political parties. Harmonizing to the Supreme Court, the federal authorities could non modulate bondage. A major thought that united the Republicans was Free Soil, and it was deemed unconstitutional. Democrats applauded this determination while Republicans criticized it, and Southerners threatened the North to follow with this determination if they wanted the Union to remain together. Philadelphia militant Robert Purvis, widely declared hatred for any authorities that could back up such a determination. [ 9 ]

Mr. Chairman, expression at the facts – here, in a state with sublimity of cheek that knows no parallel, puting itself up before the universe as a free state, a land of autonomy! , ‘the land of the free, and the place of the brave, ‘ the ‘freest state in all the universe ‘ … and yet here are 1000000s of work forces and adult females… bought and sold, whipped, manacled, killed all the twenty-four hours long. [ 10 ]

The southern provinces believed that province Torahs superseded federal Torahs ; hence, the federal authorities had no right intruding in province personal businesss. The northern provinces believed in a bigger and stronger authorities and supported the Constitution. The issue of this instance profoundly insulted the North ‘s beliefs of what is right and what is incorrect. Just a few hebdomads after the determination, Abraham Lincoln, a main Republican leader from the province of Illinois stated:

I grant you that an unconstitutional act is non a jurisprudence ; but I do non inquire, and will non take your [ Democrats ‘ ] building of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States is the tribunal to make up one’s mind such inquiries, and we will subject to its determinations ; and if you do besides, there will be an terminal of the affair. [ 11 ]


The determination made by this instance divided the provinces and political parties in so many ways. I think that this was a atrocious determination because it failed to acknowledge African Americans as rightful human existences, and did non acknowledge the rights given to adult male by God. It besides failed to acknowledge the rights given to persons in the Bill of Rights. They focused their determination on people ‘s rights to belongings instead than concentrate on the human lives that were being tormented. This determination weakened the moral power of the Supreme Court with its mediocre reading and finally led to the direct flicker of the Civil War.

[ 1 ] Fehrenbacher, Don E. The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

[ 2 ] The History Place. 1996. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed March 22, 2010 ) .

[ 3 ] Paul Finkelman. Dred Scott v. Sanford: A Brief History of Documents. Boston: Charles H. Christensen, 1997.

[ 4 ] Thomas Jefferson. “ The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. ” July 4th, 1776.

[ 5 ] Dred Scott v. Sanford. March 11, 2010. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed March 16, 2010 ) .

[ 6 ] Dred Scott v. Sanford. 1 19, 2009. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed March 22, 2010 ) .

[ 7 ] Lincoln, Abraham. House Divided Speech. June 16, 1858. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed March 17, 2010 ) .

[ 8 ] Nakade, Michael M. The Dred Scott Case Analyzed by Frederick Douglas.

[ 9 ] Dred Scott Case ; House Divided. November 9, 2007. hypertext transfer protocol: // ? q=node/9599 ( accessed March 22, 2010 ) .

[ 10 ] Ripley, Peter C. Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

[ 11 ] The US Supreme Courts, Dred Scott Decision. 1998. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed March 23, 2010 ) .