The Dred Scott Decision Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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wanted to use the law to promote the view of the United States that they considered most desirable. They could not decide on what legal principle their decision should be based. Some judges wanted to override Scott’s status as a citizen. Justice Nelson said that since this case was so controversial, and the election of l856 was so controversial, they should wait until after the election to hear new arguments. This request was granted. More arguments were heard and the judges decided upon a verdict. The decision, which Justice Taney presented, had three main points: Negroes, even those who were not slaves, could not be citizens of the United States, according to the meaning of the Constitution. Scott’s claim that he had become a free man because he lived in a territory from

which slavery had been prohibited as a result of the Missouri Compromise, was not valid. This was because the Missouri Compromise which excluded slavery went beyond the constitutional power of Congress. Finally, Scott was not free because he had lived in Illinois. Once he returned to Missouri he was obligated to obey the laws of Missouri and was bound by the position he held in that state. In l86l-1862, two very important things happened: Abraham Lincoln was elected president and Congress prohibited slavery in the territories without judicial restraint. These two things helped the North gain power. People were very upset with the Dred Scott ruling, even after his death. Other cases received similar verdicts and were not judged by the merits of the individual cases, but by the

issue of slavery. People were not getting fair trials even though they were insured fair trials by the Constitution of the United States of America. Calhoun continued to fight and remained a defender of slavery. He based his position on the right of states to “regulate their own domestic institutions.” There was still much debate and the issue was nowhere close to being solved. The hope of having it solved by the Supreme Court proved to be an illusion. The mood of the country was angry. Compromise was out of the question. The Dred Scott case made the common folk aware of slavery and its horrors. It added much more depth to the newly formed Free Soil and Republican Parties. But it was also used as a weapon for the Democrats. Every time the issue of judiciary involvement came

up, they just pointed to the Dred Scott case. Republicans said it was just proof of Southern unfairness, and a good reason to fight against them. The South had extremists who stuck to their belief in their absolute sovereignty. This further isolated and separated the South from the rest of the country. The Dred Scott case bears directly on the Civil War. It not only strengthened the Republican Party but it also angered them to the point that they were ready to fight in a war. There was a war and the North prevailed. This war marked the end of slavery, but was one of the most traumatic events in the history of the United States. The Dred Scott decision was a major factor in dividing the nation beyond repair. It was the moving force for the Civil War that followed it. The Supreme

Court’s consideration of the case represented the last chance for a peaceful and legal solution to the issue of slavery. All prior political solutions proposed by Congress proved futile. Having exhausted both political and legal means for a solution, the fanatics took over and the bloodshed of war became inevitable. — Bibliography Fehrenbacher, Don E. The Dred Scott Case, Its Significance in American Law and Politics New York: Oxford University Press, l978. Hopkins, Vincent C. Dred Scott’s Case New York: Atheneum, l967. Kutler, Stanley,I. The Dred Scott Decision, Law or Politics? Boston: Houghton Mifflin, l967. Schwartz, Bernard. A History of the Supreme Court New York: Oxford University Press, l993.