Dred vs Stanford Essay Example
Dred vs Stanford Essay Example

Dred vs Stanford Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (326 words)
  • Published: February 11, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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In 1834, Dred Scott, a slave, was taken to Illinois - a state that had abolished slavery. He was subsequently moved to the Wisconsin territory where slavery was banned under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. For a number of years, he lived in Wisconsin with his owner, Dr. John Emerson before relocating back to Missouri - an area still allowing slavery. Following Emerson's demise in 1846, Scott initiated legal proceedings against his late master's widow seeking emancipation due to his previous residence in both free territory and state.

In the first court round, Scott was victorious in his legal conflict. However, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed this initial victory. Facing this reversal and considering that his new proprietor, J.F.A. Sanford lived in New York, a federal court opted to handle the case because it involved parties from different states.

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After losing at a federal district court, Scott's legal dispute was escalated to the Supreme Court of the United States. This case exposed a divide within the court that mirrored the existing gulf between advocates for and against slavery. Many justices, primarily from southern states, were in favor of slavery. Those who opposed it used this lawsuit as an opportunity to argue for maintaining the validity of the Missouri Compromise—a law nullified by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854—under legal terms. However, on March 6, 1857, with its majority being southern judges, the court ruled that according to the Missouri Compromise Congress didn't have constitutional authority to prohibit slavery throughout U.S territories.

Southern justices argued that African Americans, either directly or through their ancestors' experiences of slavery, were not accorded the privilege

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of a national citizen. Hence, they lacked legal standing in court. This viewpoint was substantiated by the Supreme Court's ruling which declared that Dred Scott had no lawful grounds to claim his freedom under any situation. Consequently, this verdict exacerbated enduring conflicts over slavery in America, ultimately sparking off the American Civil War in 1861.

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