The Dred Scott Decision

 

ownership of his wife Irene.  For their entire lives, the Scotts lived under the control of John and Irene Emerson, traveling with them from state to state.  Nine of those years were spent living in “free states” (states that had banned slavery). 

            In 1846, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet filed a suit against Irene Emerson to obtain their freedom.  During the court cases, the Scotts were treated as property because of the state laws in Missouri.  The trial process dragged on for years.  Given the information you know about the time period, predict what happened to Dred Scott and his wife when their trial went to the Supreme Court and the court ruled in 1857.  Choose from the options below:

 

[ ]  On March 6th, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion of the Supreme Court.  The court ruled that Dred Scott was a slave, and therefore had no right to bring the case to the federal courts.  In addition the court ruled that Scott had never been free since he was personal property.  This meant that the federal government had no right to prohibit slavery in the new territories.

 

[ ]  On March 6th, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion of the Supreme Court.  The court ruled that Dred Scott should be acknowledged as a “free man” and had all rights accorded to any man by the laws of the United States.  This meant that the federal government had every right to prohibit slavery in the new territories and upheld the arguments of the Missouri Compromise.

 

Please explain the rationale for your choice:

 

            The Dred Scott decision was a critical development in our history.  The years leading up to the Civil War were tumultuous—anything  could have catapulted the nation into war.  The North and South were split over the moral, economic, and political issues that surrounded the slavery debate. 

            Dred Scott was born into slavery in 1799 in the state of Virginia.  Under the laws of the time, Scott was considered “property.”  In 1842, Scott’s “owner” died leaving Dred Scott and his wife Harriet under the