Dred-Scott Supreme Court Case
-Dred Scott: a black slave who had lived with his master for 5 years in Illinois and Wisconsin territory. He sued for his freedom on the basis that he was living on free soil.
-Roger B. Taney: Supreme Court Chief Justice who ruled against Dred-Scott's claims on the basis of his interpretation of the Constitution
-Court Case turned into complex political issue.
-Ruled that Dred Scott was a black slave—not a citizen—and therefore could not sue in federal courts.
-Pro-southern majority argues Congress has no right to take away their property --5th Amendment. Taney therefore rules Congress has no authority to exclude slavery from any part of the nation
-The Missouri Compromise is ruled unconstitutional—Congress had no power to ban slavery from any of the territories regardless of what the territorial legislatures themselves might want
-Supreme Court declared blacks “have no rights that white men are bound to respect.”
North v. South Reactions:
-Southerners delighted with victory--Supreme Court ruled in favor of slavery
-Northerners & champions of popular sovereignty appalled--scared of slavery expansion
Why it was Important?
-Created deeper split in the already divided (North v. South) Democratic Party
-Made tensions between the North & South worse
-Setback for Republican Party--were trying to ban slavery in the territories. Declared ruling as mere opinion, and acted in defiance.
-Raises question in mind of southerners of how much longer they could remain joined to a section which refused to honor the Supreme Court and ultimately the Constitution. Is Civil War the only option?