Dread Scott Decision

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The Dred Scott Decision HIST 221 August 12, 2013 Slavery divided Americans from the earliest beginnings of our county. It was a major issue in the Civil War, as well as in the Dred Scott court decision of 1857, which a key factor was leading up to that War between the States. The trials of Dred Scott in 1847 and 1950 were the beginning of a difficult series of events which ended with a U.S Supreme Court decision in 1857, and hurried the start of the Civil War. Dred Scott was born in Virginia around 1799 and was the property of the Peter Blow Family. He had spent his entire life as a slave and couldn’t read or write. Dred Scott moved to St. Louis with the Blows in 1830, but soon he was sold due to his master’s financial problems. He was then purchased by Dr. John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks and accompanied him to posts in Illinois and the Wisconsin territories; slavery was prohibited by the Missouri compromise of 1820. During this time, Dred Scott got married to another slave and had two children. In 1842, the Scotts moved with the Emerson’s to St. Louis. After about a year, Dr. Emerson had died and his wife hired out the entire Scott family. In 1846 Dred Scott and his wife filed a law suit against Mrs. Emerson for their freedom. For almost nine years Dread Scott had lived in free territories, but made no attempt to end his servitude. It is not known for sure why he chose this particular time for the suit, although historians have considered three possibilities: He may have been dissatisfied with being hired out; Mrs. Emerson might have been planning on selling him; or he might have been offered to buy his own freedom and been refused. It is known that the law suit was not brought up for political reasons. It was believed that friends of his in St. Louis who opposed slavery had encouraged him to sue for his freedom on the
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