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Dred Scott Decision

 Related Terms

• Roger Taney
• 
Slavery
• 
Missouri Compromise

Definition: slave who forever changed the definition of property. He went with his master to Illinois and Minnesota and claimed that this made him a free man. The Missouri Supreme Court found otherwise. Scott, sued his new owner, John Sanford of New York, for damages, alleging physical abuse. A federal court ruled that Scott was a citizen. But the Supreme Court ruled otherwise. Chief Justice Roger Taney, in an 1857 plurality opinion, said that African-Americans could never become United States citizens and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. Further, the Court said, Congress could not constitutionally exclude slavery from the territories.

Related Resources:
The Civil War
The Civil War was one of the most devastating events in American History. Read about the causes, see the heroes, and share the horror. Start here.

Elsewhere on the Web:
The Dred Scott Case
Impressive collection of pages, including papers and primary sources.

Dred Scott's Fight for Freedom
PBS site chronicles Scott's struggles in great, well-illustrated detail.

Dred Scott v. Sanford
Read the famous court case opinions for yourself.

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