Described as being poorly educated, indigent, feeble, and ill prone, Dred Scott seemed consistent with society’s definition of the black slave. However, he was an articulate man who changed our society and American standards. Married to Harriet Scott with four (4) children, Dred wanted to provide his family with a sense of dignity and decency that a free man’s status would warrant him. He was the cause of a change in how society viewed Negroes. In this research paper you will find out why Dred Scott v. Sandford made every black man ask themselves the question, am I free or have I been deprived of my freedom?
Nonetheless, if you read on I can offer you a complete and accurate depiction of Dred Scott v. Sandford and the repercussions that it had upon our society. John and Irene Emerson were the owners of Dred Scott. However, Peter Blow was the former owner. John took Scott from Illinois (a free state) to Missouri (a slave state). Scott lived in free soil for approximately four (4) years. Dred Scott demanded his freedom because he felt that he was a resident now of Illinois. If this were accurate then Scott had to be free because it was free soil.
The case later became known as the Dred Scott v. Sandford. At first the case was taken into a federal court with John Emerson as the defendant. Scott had lost the case in the state court. Shortly thereafter John Emerson died. Mrs. Emerson, now a widowed wife, left Dred Scott with John Sanford, who was a New York citizen. John Sanford was sued with the help of the Blows family in a federal court. Eventually, the case was appealed in the Supreme Court. Roger B. Taney, which you will learn later, had an integral impact on the decision. Read on to see more about one of the most vile and dismal days of all time.
That day proved costly not only for Dred Scott, but the entire black population of the United States. The Supreme Court ruled on this March 6, 1857 that slavery was legal in all territories. This ruling was only two (2) days after the presidential election of James Buchanan. Although every justice wrote an opinion, Roger B. Taney’s was the most regarded. It was the most highly regarded because of its consequences pertaining to the sectional crisis. Taney wrote in his opinion that blacks had “no rights which any white man was bound to respect.
There were nine (9) justices at this time. Seven (7) of them denied Scott his emancipation and two (2) dissented. Supreme Court justices also ruled that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional. They also ruled that under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution masters were entitled complete property rights. Consequences of this ruling were catastrophic for several reasons. One of them was that it had an impact against the efforts of the Republican Party recently formed to stop the extension of slavery into western lands.
Secondly, advocate of popular sovereignty, Stephen Douglas, was forced to devise a new method which settlers could use to put an end to slavery once and for all. This method is known as the Freeport Doctrine. Another consequence was President Buchanan, the South, and most of the Supreme Court hoped that this case would eradicate the problem of the antislavery agitation. On the other hand, it strengthened the Republican Party and initiated greater animosity between the North and the South. That repugnance then lead to the beginning of the Civil War.
In the Supreme Court ruling Roger B. Taney was the most influential and loud spoken chief justice. He was a great chief justice and was appointed when John Marshall died. He was responsible for the court’s extension of federal admiralty jurisdiction to inland waterways, augmented the federal court’s jurisdiction, and allowed them to create one body of federal commercial law. As you know, Taney wanted to protect the institution of the South because he was a Southerner. In his ruling he was blind to the boundaries of judicial power. He caused a great controversy with his ruling, which led to the Civil War.
The following show the three grounds, which were used in the case and his manipulation of the constitution According to the constitution, or how it is interpreted, a Negro is not a citizen of the United States. In addition, they were prohibited from suing in federal court. As stated in the syllabus, number four (4), section one (1),”A free Negro of the African race, who ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a “citizen” within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States. ” Only two clauses in the Constitution pertain to blacks.
They state that it is morally suitable to deal with them as property and hold as slaves. Also, since they are not citizens they do not possess any of the privileges and protection of one. As a result, not only are Dred Scott and his family deprived but also the entire black population of the United States. Secondly, the Supreme Court ruled that legally congress and the Territorial Legislature must allow slavery in every United States territory. This ground wade made in order to strengthen the possibility of slavery being in existence for eternity.
The laws of Illinois also could not change his status because he was still considered a resident of Missouri. The federal court of Illinois ruled in favor of Dred Scott. The federal court ruled in favor of Dred Scott. Supreme Court justice, Roger B. Taney would not let Scott take this into court due to jurisdiction. Therefore, Dred Scott lost on the second and first ground. Finally, the Missouri Compromise had stated that above 36? 30′ was free soil. Below 36? 30′ was slave territory. Scott was above free soil but it had been ruled that this still did not make him emancipated.
Congress was determined to have no right to deprive citizens of their property without due process of law. Roger Taney founded the Missouri Compromise to be obsolete. However, again there had been precedence on the third ground. Dred Scott may have lost in the eyes of the Supreme Court but there is a different perspective to this case. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, look at the glass half full. By this I am referring to how this case led to Abraham Lincoln’s election and the beginning of the Civil War. Buchanan had thought if he had given the Democrats what they wanted then everything would be serene.
However the outcome was the antithesis of what he had expected. The number and voice of outraged anti-slavery Northerners grew exponentially. During my research I was surprised to see that a simple man such as this one was still remembered to this day. There were sundry dedications, memorials, and re-enactments of his trial. In 1998 the people of Missouri attended a commemoration ceremony for the one hundred forty first (141st) anniversary of the Dred Scott Decision. On a Sunday afternoon several people portrayed themselves to be and acted in the trial.
National Park Ranger Carla Cowles played the role of Harriet Scott. Afterwards Kenneth Kaufman, author of Dred Scott’s Advocate participated in a book signing. Finally, visitors re-enacted the Dred Scott trial in one of the old restored rooms of the courthouse on Broadway. The 140th anniversary was also celebrated in the old St. Louis courthouse with a re-enactment of the trial. However, the outcome was changed to show a different perspective of how the trial could have gone. A ten- (10) year old became Alexander Hamilton and defended Dred Scott played by a dental technician.
A woman twenty-six (26) years of age played the role of Irene Emerson. A computer software consultant donned the judge’s black robe. Hamilton argued that Dred Scott should be freed based on the fact that he is a human being and that no human being should be held as a possession. This makeshift jury founded Emerson to be guilty and therefore he was freed. Last but definitely not least, Brenda Brown serves as the manager of a Minnesota Historical Society traveling exhibits program. She describes Scott as being more than an unsightly man but a man of intellect and character.
Her aspiration for the man rubbed off on Brian Notto. He uncovered records of his. Some of them say that he may have slept in a cellar beneath a doctor’s room. He may have assisted with surgery. People respected Dred Scott. Most documentation deals with his romance with Harriet Robinson (she later became Harriet Scott. ) The play that he wrote mainly deals with this aspect of his life. In Netto’s play, Scott turns around any says with determination, “One day, Harriet, one day we’re gonna be free. I promise you. ” There are many other people who remember Dred Scott on his 143rd anniversary.
Given all the data I collected, I will show my standing now on the case. From my perspective, Dred Scott was an articulate and intelligent man. Emerson brought him to Missouri from Illinois and he stayed there in free soil for four (4) years. Four years is enough time to become a resident of Missouri. As for not being a citizen of the United States, the North had always regarded blacks as citizens. In support of my case there was precedence which showed that black men sued their owners in a court of law for their freedom.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was not by any means obsolete. Taney made it obsolete along with the other seven (7) dissenting opinions. Dred Scott should have been freed by all means. It is immoral and unethical by my standards to have possession of a man’s soul. That takes me back to when we were reading an excerpt from Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tom was brutally beaten for protecting a young woman’s life. In reality the fact is that a person should not have to fight for his freedom, especially not blood! You cannot have possession of a person. People are not objects.
In summation, I enjoyed researching and reading all of the articles and excerpts from books. It makes me feel better that at least today the institution of slavery is destroyed. Ok, we are still a racist and bigot society but we will work on that with time. If more people like us face the issues and fight for our right of opinion the world will go far. Dred Scott v. Sandford showed me more than a case. It showed me that one of the most indigent and uneducated men on this earth made a great impact. He accomplished more than politicians or lawyers with fancy degrees.