One of the most notorious Supreme Court decisions in American history revolved around a slave named Dred Scott. Finding that no person of African descent could be an American citizen, the Dred Scott Decision, the 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford was instrumental in lurching the United States towards the Civil War.
Great topics for a research paper on Dred Scott include the following:
- Dred Scott as a slave
- Dred Scott's contention he was not property, as seen by the white courts in the mid 1800's
- The meaning of Chief Justice Taney's decision that Scott was not a citizen
Dred Scott (1795-1858) was a slave to Dr. John Emerson, a U.S. Army surgeon. Emerson was frequently posted in free territories and states, including Illinois and Wisconsin. After moving first to Missouri, and then Louisiana (where slavery was legal), Scott sued for his freedom. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Dred Scott that follows your guidelines.
Dred Scott's Trial
Scott v. Emerson was tried in St. Louis in 1847. By 1850, after a retrial, a Missouri jury agreed that Scott should be granted his freedom for his residence in Illinois and Wisconsin. Emerson's widow appealed and the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the decision in 1852. The ownership of Scott was transferred to Mrs. Emerson's brother, John Sanford.
Dred Scott v. Sanford reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that anyone of African descent was not a citizen and did not posses the legal authority to bring legal suit. Further, because slaves were property, Taney ruled that Congress had no power to regulate slavery, effectively nullifying the Missouri Compromise of 1820. It took the 14th Amendment to rectify the Dred Scott ruling.
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