|Date(s):||March 10, 1857|
|Tag(s):||African-Americans, Law, Slavery|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
|Rating:||4.1 (332 votes)|
The Dred Scott decision of March 6, 1857, brought to a head the tension surrounding the issue of slavery in the United States.In the case, the Supreme Court ruled that Scott was still a slave, and therefore, and no right to file suit in a United States court as he was not a citizen and did not have the rights of such.The Enquirer, a Democratic newspaper, greeted this decision with great applause.The author declared that the verdict in the case was a strong blow at the evils of the Missouri Compromise, and a victory for the people of the South.The author also stated that this was a major defeat for abolitionists, people who he referred to as enemies of the Union.It is also interesting to note that the decision was described as a victory over prejudice; assumedly the perceived prejudice to which southerners felt abolitionists subjected them.
The Dred Scott decision was a landmark case in that it drew a clear line of how the government stood on the issue of slavery, and further inflamed passions surrounding an already divisive topic within American politics.While southerners were ecstatic at the outcome, the massive abolitionist campaign to aid Scott led many southerners to claim that abolitionists were anti-southern and thus, enemies of a greater Union.Southern slave owners, as well as supporters of slavery, saw the Dred Scott case as a crucial precedent.It gave them a sense of legal standing to be able to say that the supreme law of the land had not only upheld the idea of slavery, but also dealt a crushing blow to the wildly unpopular Missouri Compromise.That act had sought to limit the spread of slavery into the new territories of the west and maintain the racial balance of power between North and South.