Dred Scott Case

DredScott Case

DredScott Case

DredScott’s case also referred to as DredScott v. Sanfordwas presented by Dred Scott, a Black American who wanted the court togrant him freedom from slavery. Scott had lived in Illinois, whichwas a state and then moved to Missouri, which as a slave state(Champion,Hartley &amp Rabe, 2012). Dredappealed to the Supreme Court to grant him freedom from slavery,which would otherwise make him a free Black American living in aslave state. The Supreme Court ruled that the black people, both freeand slave, were not citizens of the United States and had not rightto sue in the United State courts. The decision was based on the factthat the framers of the constitution of the United States did notintend to give constitutional rights to the blacks and the blackswere not part of the team that framed the constitution and thedeclaration of independence (Africans in America, 2014).

Thedecision made by the Supreme Court triggered violence because theantislavery groups feared the next move, which would be thelegalization of slavery in all states. Different groups (includingthe press, political movements, and the congress) condemned thecourt’s decision. The antislavery groups suggested that the SupremeCourt trivialized the integrity of individual justice, whichsuggested that there was a proslavery conspiracy within the judicialsystem. This exacerbated tension between the South and the Northbecause the decision of the Supreme Court seemed to favor theSouthern version of the power. Tension between the South and theNorth culminated in the Civil War and the formation of theReconstruction Congress (McBride, 2007). The reconstruction Congresspassed the Thirteenth, the Fourteenth, and the Fifteenth Amendments,which were then ratified by the states. These amendments overturnedthe decision made in Dred Scott’s case and ensure that all peopleborn or naturalized within the borders of the United States arelegitimate citizens who have the right to sue in federal courts.


Africansin America (2014). Dred Scott case: The Supreme Court decision.Africansin America.Retrieved July 21, 2014, fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html

Champion,D., Hartley, R. &amp Rabe, G. (2012). Criminalcourts: Structure, process, and issues (3rd ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

McBride,A. (2007). Thefirst hundred years: Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857).New York: Educational Broadcasting Corporation.