Dred Scott, He did not die in vain   Leave a comment

Dred Scott, He did not die in vain

Dred Scott, a slave who sued for his freedom and saw his case all the way to the US Supreme Court began life under the ownership of Peter Blow, of Southampton County, Virginia. After Blow’s death, Dred Scott was sold to a US Army surgen named John Emerson.

Emerson and his wife travelled to Fort Armstrong, in Illinois and took Scott with them. though Illinois had already abolished slavery. From there, the Emersons and Scott traveled to Wisconson, another free state, and again Scott was ilegally kept, under Emerson’s assertion that he was a resident of Missouri who was only temporarly traveling under the command of the US Army.

Without resistance, the Emerson’s took Sctt back to Missouri in 1839. Mr. Emerson died in 1843 and Dred Sctt attempted to buy his freedom from Mrs. Emerson. When she refused to free him and his family, Scott sued, claiming that for years he’d been enslaved in free states and should now be granted the freedom he’d been due earlier.

He lost the first case but Scott was persistant, taking his case onto a second court in St. Louis. He won, but only t have the ruling overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1852, two years after the St. Louis court had handed him the right to freedom.

To support the next and final case, Dred Scott accepted the help of friends, family and white abolitionists who prepared him for the United States Supreme Court.

This ruling was the most bitter because the US Supreme Court denied Scott the rights of an American Citizen and therefore, the right to sue. On March 6th, 1857, Judge Rober B. Taney ruled that slavewners and their property could travel freely through any state. All anti-slavery laws were declared unconstitutional and Dred Scott died two years later in Missouri.

To many, Scott’s case was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Those who would believe that slavery could be abolished without violence were convinced otherwise. The backlash was extreme and Scott’s case strenghtened the commitment to freedom that finally pushed America into civil war, the war held responsible for the abolition of slavery nationwide.


Posted February 23, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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