Dred Scott V. John F. A. Sandford Case Summary

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In 1857 the Supreme Court overruled a previous decision by the circuit court of St. Louis County, Missouri. The Case of Dred Scott versus John F. A. Sandford would go down in history as one of the courts most erroneous rulings. This verdict called into question a slaves rights in free states, popular sovereignty and the legality of the Missouri Compromise. Dred Scott had won a previous court battle over his former master John Sandford claiming that he had assaulted his wife and children and that he should in fact be a free man because he had been moved to Illinois and Wisconsin for a time. Since both were free territories he should in fact be free. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the opinion on the case, stating that because he was a black …show more content…

Emerson, a surgeon in the army. He stayed in Illinois as Dr. Emerson’s slave until 1836. They continued on to Fort Snelling in Upper Louisiana until 1938. Dr. Emerson gave permission for Dred to marry his wife Harriet in 1836at Fort Snelling. The Doctor then moved Dred, Harriet and their daughter to Missouri in 1838. After moving to Missouri, the Scott’s (Dred, Harriet, Eliza and Lizzie) were sold to John Sandford. Dred brought his case to court in 1846 with the claim that his previous movements with his old master made him a free man. The claim was upheld in the circuit court but reversed in the states supreme court. Dred brought another accusation that John Sandford, his new master, assaulted his family. Sandford argued against the assault charges claiming that as they were his property he was free to lay his hands upon them. The jury this time found for Sandford. Dred took further action by filing a bill of exceptions against the proceedings, this bill led to the Supreme Court …show more content…

“It is not the province of the court to decide upon the justice or injustice” (Taney, 385). Above the main entrance to the Supreme Court building are the words “Equal Justice Under Law”, does this not mean justice for everyone? Apparently this court did not think that everyone included African-Americans. They duty of the court is, to interpret the instrument they have framed…(Taney, 386). I agree this is the duty of the court but is their interpretation limited to the words on paper or is it a wider scope that envelopes not only the words but the intent of our forefathers. Society is ever changing and many of our founders were aware of this flux. America is built on the escape of religious freedom and politics (changing societies). I think the Taney and his court did not in fact interpret the framed instrument but manipulated the readings to their own mindset. Taney then does go into interpretation of the founders intent This court decided that the writers of the Constitution were upstanding gentlemen that would have seen the white race as superior and slaves and their families were being taken care of ty their masters. A slave could nor should ever be considered a citizen under their ruling. Congressional policy that prohibited slavery in certain territories was in violation of the Fifth Amendment since slaves were

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