In 1848, the United States had acquired new lands in the Mexican cession and the question was whether or not the south should be allowed to spread slavery to the new states. Dredd Scott was a slave to a U.S. army surgeon, Dr. John Emerson in St. Louis, Missouri-a slave state. Dr. Emerson was transferred to Illinois, a state in which slavery was forbidden; he took Dredd Scott with him anyway. Two years later, he relocated again to Fort Snelling, Louisiana-another state where slavery was not only forbidden but an area in which, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 prohibited slavery. In 1846, Mr. Scott brought suit in a Missouri court to obtain his freedom because he felt that living in a free state would constitute freedom for him. He was successful in winning the case, but the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the judgment. Dredd Scott, with the help of some abolitionists arranged for the sale of Scott to John Sanford who was the brother of the widow of Dr. Emerson and who was already a citizen in New York so that the jurisdiction could be taken by the federal circuit court in Missouri. The federal court held against Mr. Scott and he appealed to the Supreme Court under a writ of error.
The Privileges or Immunities, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
1. Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen?
2. Whether the provisions of the constitution, in relation to the personal rights and privileges to which the citizen of a State should be entitled, embraced the negro African race, at that time in this country, or who might afterwards be imported, who had then or