- ›› Coverage Events : Dred Scott Decision
From long before the United States claimed its independence through revolution or established its governmental structure based on its grand Constitution, the contradiction of a freedom-loving people tolerating and profiting from depriving their fellow human beings of freedom was central to any understanding of the nation’s formation.
‘A house divided against itself can not stand’ I believe this government can not endure permanently, half slave, and half free . . . I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided . . . Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and put it in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old, as well as new.
Glossary Term – Event
The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision denied the citizenship of African Americans and the right of the federal government to control slavery in US territories. In 1846, Missouri slave Dred Scott had sued for his freedom. Scott argued that while he had been the slave of an army surgeon, he had lived for four years in Illinois, a free state, and Wisconsin, a free territory, and that his residence on free soil had erased his slave status. In 1850 a Missouri court gave Scott his freedom, but two years later, the Missouri supreme...
Glossary Term – Person
Dred Scott (1795–1858) was a Missouri slave who sued for his freedom in 1846. While the slave of an Army surgeon, Scott had lived in the free state of Illinois and the free territory of Wisconsin. Scott claimed that his residence on free soil had erased his slave status. In 1850 a Missouri court gave Scott his freedom, but two years later the Missouri supreme court reversed this decision and returned Scott to slavery. He appealed to the US Supreme Court, which ruled against him in 1857. After the decision, Scott's owner freed him and Scott...
On October 16, 1859, John Brown and a band of followers, black and white, attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. The raid was part of a larger plan to destroy the slave system by freeing and arming slaves. The raiders were captured and John Brown was executed on December 2, 1859. The unique documents discussed here examine John Brown’s beliefs and actions in the context of growing national divisions over slavery in the 1850s.