Dred Scott Case

Essay by wardrooney10High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2004

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In what some call the most infamous case in its history, the Supreme Court case of Scott v Sandford produced one of the most controversial and most heavily debated decisions ever. The conditions of the case seem to be simple to understand, yet the logistics of it make the case notorious. Another reason the case was so significant was because it came in the wake of Bleeding Kansas and only 3 years after the Kansas-Nebraska Act. At the point of the Dred Scott case the country had already been struggling for 3 years to identify with the implications of popular sovereignty in the West and if the West would be settled as slave-owning or free. Because the case's decision was so decisive and outwardly bias towards the south, it would cause even more tension then ever before between the two parts of the country and brought war cries to a dim roar.

Dred Scott was a slave owned by Dr. John Emerson of Missouri. Scott was moved to Illinois, a free state, by Emerson and after a stay of 2 ½ years he moved to a fort in the Wisconsin Territory where he met and married Harriet Robinson. Scott's elongated stay in the free states of Illinois and Wisconsin gave him the legal standing to make a claim for his freedom. Scott however decided against making the claim, perhaps because he was living a comfortable life with his tranquil master and wife or perhaps because he was unaware of his rights at the time. In any event Scott did not take advantage of the opportunity he possessed and in 1843 after the death of his master he was sold by Emerson's widow to an army captain. It was then that Scott made an attempt to buy his freedom, offering $300...