The Dred Scott Decision and Its Bitter Legacy

Primary Theme: 

Dred Scott was born a slave in Virginia around 1800 and died a free man in Missouri in 1858. Most contemporary accounts describe his life and habits as typical for someone of his place and time.

Inline body image(s): 
Theodore Roosevelt’s letter reviling the Dred Scott Decision  (Gilder Lehrman Co
New York Resolution Ratifying Fourteenth Amendment (Gilder Lehrman Collection, G
Dred Scott Political Cartoon  (Courtesy Library of Congress)
Lincoln's 'House Divided' Speech (Gilder Lehrman Collection, GLC 2533)
Two Speeches by Frederick Douglass, 1857 (Gilder Lehrman Collection, GLC 07591)
Newspaper attack on Justice Taney (Courtesy Dickinson College)
Dred Scott’s Daughters, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 27, 1857
The U.S. Constitution, (Article IV, Section 3)  (Courtesy the National Archives)
Missouri Compromise (1820) (Courtesy the National Archives)
Benjamin Curtis and John McLean (Courtesy Dickinson College)
Report of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Opinio
Chief Justice Taney  (Courtesy Dickinson College)
James Buchanan, Robert Grier and Roger Taney  (Courtesy Dickinson College)
Broadside protesting re-capture of fugitive slaves, 1854 (Gilder Lehrman Collect
Detail from Dred Scott’s Signed Petition of 1846  (Courtesy Washington Universit
Dred Scott and Harriet Scott, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 27
Scott’s freedom suit, 1846, (Courtesy Washington University Library)
Portrait of Dred Scott  (Courtesy New-York Historical Society)
3rd-column callouts
Callout: Related Collection Objects (2): 
no
Callout: Related Site Content (10): 
Show Related Site Content (top 10)
Callout: Related Site Content (5): 
no
Callout: Upcoming Calendar Events: 
no
Callout: Related Favorited Items ("Visitor Picks"): 
no

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Already have an account?

Please click here to login and access this page.

How to subscribe

Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

How to Subscribe

K-12 educator or student? Click here to edit your profile and indicate this, giving you free access, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program.

Not a educator or student? Click here for more information on purchasing a subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Sectional Conflict

Resource type: 
Teaching Resource
Primary Sub Era: 

Reading 1

I do not...hesitate to avow before this House and the country, and in the presence of the living God, that if by your legislation you seek to drive us from the territories of California and New Mexico, purchased by the common blood and treasure of the whole people, and to abolish slavery in this District, thereby attempting to fix a national degradation upon half the States of this Confederacy, I am for disunion.

Representative Robert Toombs of Georgia, 1849

3rd-column callouts
Callout: Related Collection Objects (2): 
no
Callout: Related Site Content (10): 
Show Related Site Content (top 10)
Callout: Related Site Content (5): 
no
Callout: Upcoming Calendar Events: 
no
Callout: Related Favorited Items ("Visitor Picks"): 
no
More »

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Already have an account?

Please click here to login and access this page.

How to subscribe

Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

How to Subscribe

K-12 educator or student? Click here to edit your profile and indicate this, giving you free access, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program.

Not a educator or student? Click here for more information on purchasing a subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.