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DredScott v. Sandford 60 U.S. 393 (1856) (racial equality)

Thiscase was between Scott, a slave, and John Sandford, his master. Scottwas owed by his former employer, Eliza Sandford, a sister to John. Inan earlier court case between Scott and Elizabeth, the slave had beengranted freedom by the court on the basis that the territory theylived in did not accommodate slavery. Sandford appealed the ruling bythe lower decision to give the slave freedom. This led to the rulingbeing overturned, and the Supreme Court decision favored Sandford. Inanother lawsuit, Scott filed a case in the federal court accusingJohn of subjecting him to physical harm (PBS, 2017). However, theSupreme Court ruled that African Americans did not qualify to beAmerican citizens. Therefore, they were not entitled to sue Americancitizens in the federal court.

Therewere some concurring opinions in the case, which touched on thestatus of the plaintiff as a slave. In his opinion, Justice Campbellconcurred with the court’s decision. Campbell maintained that theplaintiff was a slave who resided in Missouri in 1834, and as such,was the property of the slave owner, Dr, Emerson. Despite theconcurring opinion, there was a dissenting opinion from JusticeMcLean. He argued that the defendant was wrong for having subjectedthe plaintiff to physical assault. McLean also issued a dissent tothe court’s decision since the plaintiff and his family had beenimprisoned by Sandford, thus denying them freedom (PBS, 2017).). Mostof the judges in the Supreme Court supported the decision thisimplies that the court was not divided. The court argued that slaveswere the property of their masters and could not be taken awaywithout compensating the owners. The case is important since itencouraged anti-slavery movements to work towards ending the vice inthe United States.


PBS(2017). DredScott vs. Sandford (1857). RetrievedFrom: