Dred Scott v. Sandford

Fact Box

Dred Scott v. Sandford
Petitioner: Dred Scott
Respondent: Sandford

Decision: 7 votes for Sandford, 2 votes against
Facts of the Case 

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.


Was Dred Scott free or a slave?

Decision: 7 votes for Sandford, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: US Const. Amend. 5; Missouri Compromise

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.


  • http://www.oyez.org/cases/1851-1900/1856/1856_0/#sort=ideology