The Dred Scott Decision (1857)

Vocabulary from this pro-slavery Supreme Court decision illuminates how it brought the nation to the brink of the Civil War. In March of 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion in the Dred Scott Case. Scott, a slave, had been brought from a slave territory to a free territory and demanded his freedom. The Court ruled that as a slave, Scott was not a citizen and as such could not sue in the courts. The decision further polarized the North and the South and ended any chance of compromise on the issue of slavery.

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