Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Was The Dred Scott Decision So Important?

This month I will be writing a post each day on an event in Black History in celebration of Black History Month. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and had no idea of the historical gems I was living around. All photos are mine, and original. I visited these places and took pictures just for the purpose of this series. I hope you enjoy it.

Why Was The Dred Scott Decision So Important?

“Dred Scott was a slave whose owner, an army doctor, had spent time in Illinois, a free state, and Wisconsin, a free territory at the time of Scott’s residence. The Supreme Court was stacked in favor of the slave states. Five of the nine justices were from the South while another, Robert Grier of Pennsylvania, was staunchly pro-slavery.”

“Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the majority decision, which was issued on March 6, 1857. The court held that Scott was not free based on his residence in either Illinois or Wisconsin becausehe was not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution–in the opinion of the justices, black people were not considered citizens when the Constitution was drafted in 1787. According to Taney, Dred Scott was the property of his owner, and property could not be taken from a person without due process of law.” --

Basically, the court ruled that no slave or descendant of a slave could be a U.S. citizen, and therefore had no rights, nor could they sue the court for freedom. This court decision rendered slaves again powerless further stating that Dred Scott must remain a slave. The court took his freedom away, nullified it, and made this man a slave when he had only known freedom for many years. This trial went on for 11 years, making the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. This trial took place in St. Louis, at the Old Courthouse, a now historical landmark.