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Dred Scott v.


Decided by: Taney Court

Opinion: 60 U.S 393 (1857)
Jamesha Williams
Case Facts
• Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri. From 1833 to 1843, he
resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana
Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri
Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued
unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming
that his residence in free territory made him a free man. Scott
then brought a new suit in federal court. Scott's master
maintained that no pure-blooded Negro of African descent and
the descendant of slaves could be a citizen in the sense of
Article III of the Constitution.
Questions Raised
• Was Dred Scott free or a slave?
• Under the law, were slaves to be considered
“persons” or property?
• Could congress decide whether slavery
would be banned from certain territories?
Conclusion Opinions
• Dred Scott was a slave. Under Articles III and IV,
argued Taney, no one but a citizen of the United
States could be a citizen of a state, and that only
Congress could confer national citizenship. Taney
reached the conclusion that no person descended
from an American slave had ever been a citizen
for Article III purposes. The Court then held the
Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, hoping to
end the slavery question once and for all.
Was Dred Scott free or a slave? Under Articles III and IV Dred Scott didn’t have the same
The citizens of each state shall be rights
entitled to all privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several

Under the law, were slaves to Sectionfrom

2 of Article I states that apart U.S supreme courts say slaves are
free persons "all other property and have no right to sue.
be considered “persons” or persons," are each to be counted as
three-fifths of a white person

Could congress decide no person could "be deprived of

whether slavery would be Amendment 5 life, liberty, or property, without
banned from certain due process of law."
Can a negro, whose ancestors were The citizens of each state shall
imported into this country, and sold as
slaves, become a member of the
be entitled to all privileges and
political community and as such
Section 2. immunities of citizens in the
several states.
become entitled to all the rights, and
privileges, and immunities, guarantied
by that instrument to the citizen?