Dred Scott Decision

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The Dred Scott decision was an important ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that had a significance influence on the issue of slavery. The case was decided in 1857 and that slaves were viewed as property, and had no individual rights. This controversy began when Scott traveled with his owner to Illinois, a free state and lived there for seven years, in the end returning to Missouri, a slave state. When his owner passed away, Scott filed a lawsuit arguing that he should be considered a free man. The owner’s wife disagreed with Scott. After series of court decisions, Scott decided to bring his case to the federal courts. Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that Scott could not bring his case to the courts because he was still a slave. When the Constitution was written, the courts allegedly considered blacks as subordinate and inferior to the dominant race. The Dred Scott decision also declared the Missouri compromise to be an unconstitutional use of congressional power because it deprived slaveholder of the property without due process of law. Therefore, they could not be citizens. Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction Congress passed, and states ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment, were added to the Constitution which directly overturned the Dred Scott decision. The 13th amendment ratified in 1865 made slavery unconstitutional everywhere within the United States. The 15th amendment ratified in 1870 made it unconstitutional for the national government or state governments to deny an individual the right to vote based in race, color, or previous history of having been a slave or of having been descended from a slave. The 14th amendment ratified in 1868 established that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the United States and also the state in which he or she lives. This proclamation made it clear that former slaves were fully citizens. It then declared that no state shall “deny to any person within its...
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