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Commentary Dred Scott

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This commentary will focus on the impact of the Dred Scott decision in America. Dred Scott was born a slave in Virginia to the family of Peter Blow originally. The family moved to St. Louis and sold Scott to Dr. John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks. Scott traveled with Dr. Emerson to different areas such as Illinois and Wisconsin territories, where slavery was prohibited. This is because of the Missouri Compromise, this compromise was created to end expansion of slavery and permitted Missouri to entered as a slave state and Illinois was entered as a free state. Because Scott had traveled to free territory, he felt that he was a free man and sued to be free. The first case is against Emerson's wife and is dismissed based on a technical issue, the second case Scott wins the right to be free, however the case is appealed to Wisconsin Supreme Court who disagrees with the lower court and Scott remains a slave. Scott lawyers filed suit in the U.S. Federal Court and this time it's against Mrs. Emerson's brother whom took over the estate due to her remarriage, his name was John F.A. Sanford.

The United States Supreme Court first hears the case in 1854 and then again in 1856. The case gains public and political attention. It affected the presidential election in which it would cause a candidate to agree or disagree with the high court. Congress begin debates on its power to control slavery specific territories, eventually they left it up to the high court to decide on the case. Many Americans awaited the Supreme Court's decision as well as President-elect James Buchanan. It was evident that Buchanan knew what the outcome of the high decision would be as you read the inaugural address given below:

A difference of opinion has arisen in regard to the point of time when the people

of a Territory shall decide this question (of slavery) for themselves.

This is, happily, a matter of but little practical importance. Besides, it is a

judicial question, which legitimately belongs to the Supreme Court of the United

states, before whom it is now pending, and will, it is understood, be speedily and

finally settled. To their decision, in common with all good citizens, I shall

cheerfully submit, whatever this may be.

The Supreme Court ruled on this matter and it was in favor of Sanford, the court ordered that Scott was not a free man and that he was to remain as a slave. The court swayed away from the issue of Scott's travels to areas in which slavery was prohibited and focus on whether he was a citizen of the U.S. They found that because he was imported in the country, by way of his ancestors, he didn't have the same rights and privileges stated in the Constitution. The Constitution couldn't deprive citizens of

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