When it comes to determining at what point the Civil War was unavoidable, I believe the Dred Scott decision of 1857 was that point. Already the nation was divided on the issue of slavery, and the issue alone is strong enough to have Americans fighting each other. All that is really needed is one final spark to ignite the blaze. I think the Dred Scott decision is that spark.
Before I give you the controversy of the decision I would like to give you some history on Mr. Scott and his case. Dred Scott was born in Virginia as a slave, belonging to the Peter Blow family. In 1830 the Blow family moved to St. Louis. The Blows sold Dred Scott to Dr. John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks just south of St. Louis. Over the next twelve years Scott accompanied Emerson to posts in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory, where congress prohibited slavery under the rules of the Missouri Compromise.
During that time, Scott married a slave named Harriet Robinson, and they later had four children.
At that time in history slaves were constantly on the move, either following their masters or being traded to new owners. Slave states and Free states, which had previously respected one another's laws on slavery, became increasingly hesitant to enforce those laws as the argument over the expansion of slavery became increasingly heated.
In 1842 the Scott family returned to St. Louis with Dr. Emerson. Scott who had been living in a free state for twelve years felt he deserved a free mans status. Scott's attempt to pursue, and fight for his freedom, would be the cause of Americans really looking at the way black people were viewed in this country. It also opened up the door to black people...