What has since become known as "The Dred Scott Case" began in 1846 as Scott v. Emerson. Dred Scott had
attempted to purchase his freedom from his owner, Irene Emerson. When she refused Scott filed a lawsuit to attempt to win his freedom in court. In previous years, Scott had traveled with Dr. Emerson around the country which included several years in free states and free territories. During that time he met and married his wife in a civil ceremony before a Justice of the Peace in the free territory of Wisconsin. This was unusual for a slave, as slave marriages were generally not recognized. And then while still in a free state, his wife gave birth to two daughters. In total, Scott and his wife lived in a free state or territory for over two years consecutively. Scott's lawsuit in 1846 was based on the Missouri legal precedent that held that slaves could be freed under an extended residence in a free state or territory. And in that situation, when they returned to Missouri (a slave state), they would remain free. The original case in 1846 was decided against Scott, but was retried because it was found that Mrs. Emerson's testimony regarding the events that occurred during Dr. Scott's travels was here-say. Dred Scott won the re-trial.
In 1852, Mrs. Emerson appealed the decision and the higher court threw out the lower courts decision, and the Scott family remained Emerson slaves. This decision was a landmark case in Missouri because, in essence, the court threw out twenty eight years of legal precedent when it held that because of growing anti-slavery sentiment in free states, Missouri no longer had to defer to the laws of any free state.
|Justice Roger B. Taney|
When Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the majority opinion one can only imagine that he felt he was striking a blow to the anti-slavery movement and the abolition cause. Instead he incited public outrage and fueled the fire of the abolitionists. The chasm between the north and south had never been deeper then it was in 1857, just four years before the agitation between states rights, individual rights and the basic differences between the north and south would ignite into one of the greatest tragedies in American history: The Civil War. One could easily point and claim that the Dred Scott Case was one of the single biggest flames in the fire of the upcoming war.
Bruce holds a degree in Computer Science from Temple University, a Graduate Certificate in Biblical History from Liberty University and is working towards a Masters Degree in American History at American Public University. He has worked in educational and technology for over 18 years, specializes in building infrastructures for schools that work to support the mission of technology in education in the classroom. He also has served as a classroom teacher in Computer Science, History and English classes.
Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of Time, Towering Pines Volume One:Room 509, The Star of Christmas, Philadelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel -- with a new book, Learn the Basics: Digital Forensics, due soon.
Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!
Be sure to check out Bruce's Allentown Education Examiner Page, his Twitter and his Facebook!