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Dred Scott


Title: Slide 1 Author: limewire Created Date: 11/24/2009 9:49:21 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) Other titles: Goudy Stout Arial Calibri Arial ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Dred Scott

Dred Scott
A presentation presented by Paola Garcia
History prior to the famous Dred Scott VS.
Sanford case
Scotts wife
  • Dred Scott was born a slave between 1795 and
    1800 and in 1830 was taken by his owners to
    Missouri when a military surgeon, Major John
    Emerson, purchased him.
  • Over the next 12 years Emerson took Scott along
    to various forts where he was assigned.
  • He was first stationed at Fort Armstrong in
    Illinois where the Northwest Ordinance banned
    slavery. Then Emerson was stationed at Fort
    Snelling where the Missouri Compromise of 1820
    had also banned slavery.
  • so at for Snelling Emerson allowed Dred to
    marry a slave named Harriet.

History continued
  • In 1837 Dr. Emerson was ordered to Fort Jessup,
    Lousiana. There, he married Eliza Irene Sanford
    in 1838.
  • Emerson then sent for Dred Scott and his wife and
    on their way on a steam boat, their first child,
    Eliza was born on the Mississippi river between
    the Iowa Territory and Illinois.
  • In 1840, Emerson was serving in the Seminole war
    and returned to St. Louis in 1842 and returned to
    St. Louis in 1842 and later died in the Iowa
    territory in 1843 and his wife Eliza inherited
    everything of his including Dred Scott, his wife
    and their daughter.

First attempt to Sue Dred Scott VS. Eliza Irene
Eliza Irene Emerson
  • Scott sued Mrs. Emerson for "false imprisonment"
    in 1846 also claiming that Emerson held him
    illegally, and that he had become a free man as
    soon as he lived in a free territory or state and
    then was taken against his will to a slave
    territory or state.
  • His lawyers also fought for the freedom of his
    wife and daughter who was born between a free
    state and a free territory, therefore should be
    considered free too.
  • This first trial was then dismissed because Dred
    failed to present a witness say that John Emerson
    was his owner.
  • While this was going on, Dred and his wife had
    another child named Lizzie.

Dred Scott V. Eliza Irene Emerson contd.
  • At the end of 1847, the judge granted Scott a new
  • Mrs. Emerson agreed and the trial was scheduled
    but did not take place until 1850 due to the
    cholera epidemic. (eww)
  • The court found that Dred Scott and his family
    were legally free but Mrs. Emerson won.
  • By that time though, she moved to
  • Massachusetts and transferred the
  • case to her brother John F, A Sanford.

Finally Dred Scott V. Sanford
  • By 1853, John Sanford was the owner of the
  • Sanford had moved to New York and left Dred
    Scott and his family in Missouri. Since federal
    courts settle the dispute between citizens of
    different states, Scott was able to sue Sanford
    in federal court in a new case.
  • Interesting fact
  • A clerk mistakenly added a letter to Sanford's
    name, so the case permanently became Dred Scott
    v. John F. A. Sandford (haha funny) ?
  • At trial in 1854, the federal court directed the
    jury to rely on Missouri law to decide Scott's
    freedom. Since the Missouri Supreme Court had
    held Scott was a slave, the jury went towards
    Sanfords side. Scott then appealed to the U.S.
    Supreme Court.

  • Before the supreme court made a decision,
    president-elect James Buchanan contacted some of
    his friends on the Supreme Court starting in
    early February asking if the Court had reached a
    decision in the case because he needed to know
    what he should say about the territorial issue in
    his inaugural address on March 4.
  • By the day of his inauguration, he knew what the
    outcome of the Supreme Court's decision would be
    and took the opportunity to throw his support to
    the Court in his inaugural address saying

A difference of opinion has arisen in regard to
the point of time when the people of a Territory
shall decide this question of slavery for
themselves. This is, happily, a matter of but
little practical importance. Besides, it is a
judicial question, which legitimately belongs to
the Supreme Court of the United States, before
whom it is now pending, and will, it is
understood, be speedily and finally settled. To
their decision, in common with all good citizens,
I shall cheerfully submit, whatever this may
Final decision
  • The Supreme Court ruling was handed down on
    March 6, 1857, just two days after Buchanan's
  • The southern Supreme court justices decided to
    declare the Missouri compromise ban on slavery
    was unconstitutional but to avoid the appearance
    of a decision based on sectionalism they
    pressured northern democratic justice, Robert
    Grier of Pennsylvania to accept the decision.
  • But in total 6 justices agreed with the decision

Final decision contd.
Chief justice Taney issued the Courts ruling
stating that congress lacked the power to keep
slavery out of a territory because slaves were
property and the constitution protects the right
of property. He also wrote that the circuit
courts should not have accepted the Scott case in
the first place because black men were not
citizens of The united States according to the
creators of the constitution ? beings of an
inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate
with the white race, either in social or
political relations, and so far inferior that
they had no rights which the white man was bound
to respect." and therefore had no standing in
its courts.
Abolitionists became very angry with the decision
of Dred Scott V. Sanford. Although very
disappointed, Frederick Douglass, found a bright
side to the decision and announced, "my hopes
were never brighter than now." For him, the Dred
Scott VS Sanford decision would bring slavery to
the attention of the nation and was a step toward
slavery's ultimate destruction.
What happened to Dred Scott after everything?
The sons of Peter Blow, Scott's first owner,
purchased emancipation for Scott and his family
on May 26, 1857. Their gaining freedom was
national news and celebrated in northern
cities. Scott worked in a hotel in St. Louis,
where he was considered a local celebrity. He
died of tuberculosis only eighteen months later,
on November 7, 1858.
How the Dred Scott case moved through the court
Missouri Supreme Court (1852) Reversed the
decision by the circuit court. Dred Scott and his
family were not free.
Missouri Circuit Court of St. Louis County
(1850) Jury decided that Dred Scott and his
family were free. Sandford appealed to a higher
state court.
On behalf of himself, his wife, and his two
daughters, Dred Scott sued his owner in state
court to win his freedom.
Supreme Court of the United States (1857) Scott
appealed to highest federal court. Scott's
attorneys wanted to avoid appealing the Missouri
Supreme Court ruling, because the appeal would go
directly to the Supreme Court of the United
States. The attorneys feared that a majority of
the justices would simply endorse the state court
decision without considering its merits. They
decide to file the case in federal court as a new
case and not as an appeal. The Court found in
favor of Sanford, and declared African Americans
are not citizens and thus have no rights.
U.S. Court for the District of Missouri
(1854) Sandford had moved to New York, leaving
Scott in Missouri. Since federal courts settle
disputes between citizens of different states,
Scott was able to sue Sandford in federal court
as a new case. Jury decides that Dred Scott and
his family were not free.
Sources of Information
  • Google search engine
  • Wikipedia
  • PBS.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html
  • Landmarkcases.org/dredscott/home.html
  • Watson.org
  • APUSH textbook Liberty, Equality, Power A
    History of The American People
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