In the middle of the XIX century, some events purposefully led to the American Civil War, and one of them was the Dred Scott decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was about a black slave of Missouri state, Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford, and his legal rights on freedom. According to Missouri Compromise taken in 1820, all territories located to the west of Missouri and north of latitude 36°30´ were declared free.
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Dred Scott, due to all circumstances and his location, had a full right to be free. However, according to the judge, African Americans could never become citizens of the United States of America, could not sue in court, and the Missouri Compromise was eventually claimed unauthorized (Bonner, 2020). Dred Scott, after several years of court processes, was refused to receive his freedom and remained in slavery status. Such occasions worsened the divide between North and South and contributed to the creation of the Republican Party that was formed in order to fight slavery.
This episode was also a subject of concern for Abraham Lincoln, that was back at the time a rising figure in the Republican party. Lincoln showed his disagreement with the Supreme Court publicly and later mentioned the Dred Scott case in the worldwide known debate with Stephen Douglas in 1858 (Bonner, 2020). The Republican party continued to grow and gained more respect and fame from the public, especially from the north. All these events together initiated the separation of society and led to the American Civil War, which brought drastic changes to the life of African Americans and the history of the U.S. globally. Dred Scott died a year after he finally got his rights of freedom, in 1858, when his last owner sent him and his wife back to the initial holders that freed them.
Bonner, C. J. (2020). Black politics and the “Foul and infamous lie” of Dred Scott. University of Pennsylvania Press.