Dredd Scott v. Sandford (1857)
Facts of the Case:
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 alr
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 citizen2. eady a citizen in New York so that the jurisdiction could be taken by the federal circuit court in Missouri. 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 should afterwards be made free in any State; and to put it in the power of a single State to make him a citizen of the United States, and endue him with the full rights of citizenship in every other State without their consent3. The Law:The Privileges or Immunities, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Scott and he appealed to the Supreme Court under a writ of error. It cannot be supposed mat they intended to secure to them rights, and privileges, and rank, in the new political body throughout the Union, which every one of them denied within the limits of its own dominion. Concurring Opinion:There were no concurring opinion for this case Dissenting Opinion:There were no dissenting opinion for this case Significance of the case to American Constitutional Law:The principle for this case would be Limited Government. Does the constitution of the United States act upon him whenever he shall be made free under the laws of a State, and raised there to the rank of a citizen, and immediately clothe him with all the privileges of a citizen in every other State, and in its own courtsOpinion of the Court:The legislation of the States therefore shows, in a manner not to be mistaken, the inferior and subject condition of that race at the time the Constitution was adopted, and long afterwards, throughout the thirteen States by which that instrument was framed; and it is hardly consistent with the respect due to these States, to suppose that they regarded at that time, as fellow-citizens and members of the sovereignty, a class of beings whom they had thus stigmatized; whom, as we are bound, out of respect to the State sovereignties, to assume they had deemed it just and necessary thus to stigmatize, and upon whom they had impressed such deep and enduring marks of inferiority and degradation; or, that when they met in convention to form the Constitution, they looked upon them as a portion of their constituents, or designed to include them in the provisions so carefully inserted for the security and protection of the liberties and rights of their citizens. This was significant to American Constitutional Law in that it narrowed the scope of national power and enhanced that of the states.