The overturning of the Missouri Compromise and Northwest Ordinance of 1787 were major blows to the anti-slavery movement (Fehrenbacher, 71). Prior there had been a few victories springing forth in the north in regional courts even with the strong anti-American sentiment burning hot in the Southern territories.
Approximately ten percent of the population in the upper south was free blacks in the years leading up to the trial (Allen, 118). Sectional politics had perverted Justice Roger B. Taney and his colleagues which would make them bias against Dred Scott as his case was tried and ultimately thrown out. African Americans were simply not represented in a significant enough body to make major change at this time. Historian Austin Allen searched through hundreds of cases prior to Scott’s and found Justice Taney’s prejudice rampant in protecting slavery and supporting Jacksonian jurisprudence (80). The fourteenth amendment’s Citizenship Clause provides a summary of the overruling of the Dred Scott v. Sanford case to come in 1857.
Society was both the cage that held African Americans but symbolically important to Dred Scott since his childhood friends in the Blow family help pay his court cases and fees through the years (PBS).
The utter prejudice of society had marginalized African Americans as lesser citizens. Speech after speech, victories by the single step, led Dred Scott to the Supreme Court. The resulting decree that no African descendant could ever be a citizen of the United States. The consideration of African Americans as property prevailed after the case and enraged all those who heard of the decree. The frameworks for better days were beginning to be more available to the public and opinions were beginning to be converted even with the majority still being in film hold keeping African Americans down in the United States.
With limited resources and even less support African Americans were again denied progress in the Dred Scott case by the US Supreme Court.
Politicians would not hear the voices of the suppressed. No financial initiative meant there was no chance to buy support for legal progress. Society only counted three of every five African Americans as official population and ignoring the issue was a perfectly suitable action for thousands of Americans who indirectly proliferated slavery by refusing to recognize the disparities between the races. While the result of the case did not legally change anything it did a great deal for recognition to the poor treatment of African Americans and provided legal record of the case in the Supreme Court’s documentation. Dred Scott’s tireless efforts refused to submit to the American majority and the mistreatment of antire race of people who helped build the country.
Allen, Austin. Origins of the Dred Scott Case. University of Georgia Press: 2006.
Fehrenbacher, Don. The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics. Oxford University Press: 2001.
Konig, David. The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law. Ohio University Press: 2010.
PBS Television. The Dred Scott Case. Segment Four (1831-1865).