Dred Scott

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Scott vs. Sanford (1857) In 1857, one of the most memorable cases in Supreme Court history took place. The plaintiff of this famous case was Dred Scott. Dred Scott was born around 1800 in Virginia. Scott was the slave of Dr. John Emerson, who bought Scott from Peter Blow. John Emerson was a United States Army surgeon. When Emerson moved from Missouri to Illinois he took Scott with him. After two and a half years in Illinois Emerson moved with Scott to Wisconsin. Illinois and Wisconsin at the time prohibited slavery. They later returned to Missouri, which did not ban slaves, with Emerson. Scott was married to Harriet Robinson, who was also a slave. They eventually had two children. In 1846, three years after Emerson died, Scott sued Emerson's widow for his and his family's freedom. Scott claimed that living in free states made him and his family free.

In Missouri, Scott went on trial in 1847, then again in 1850 on a retrial. Scott then brought a new lawsuit to a Federal Court. Eventually the case got to the United States Supreme Court in 1857, where Scott appealed his case.

John F. Sanford served as the defendant in this case. Sanford was the owner of Scott at the time of the appeal to the United States Supreme Court. He was the brother of John Emerson's widow. Scott sued Mrs. Emerson for his freedom at first. Later Sanford took ownership of Scott. After this happened Scot filed a new lawsuit against Sanford. He argued that blacks could never be citizens of the United States and therefore could never sue in federal court as a citizen. He used Article III of the Constitution in his defense.

The decision of the case was read in March of 1857. Dred Scott...