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Dread Scott #2169

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Dred Scott (ca. 1795 – September 17, 1858) was a slave who sued unsuccessfully for his freedom in the famous Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1856. His case was based on the fact that he and his wife Harriet had lived, while slaves, in states and territories where slavery was illegal, including Illinois and parts of the Louisiana Purchase. The court ruled 7 to 2 against Scott, finding that he was property and therefore not entitled to file suit in a federal court. Historians consider it[citation needed] one of the major factors leading to the American Civil War.

The Dred Scott case contributed to the war because Scott’s master could travel freely through states in which slavery was illegal. The ruling arguably violated the Missouri Compromise because, based on the court’s logic, a white slave owner could purchase slaves in a slave state and then bring his slaves to a state where slavery is illegal without losing rights to the slaves. This factor greatly upset the Northern Republicans and further split Northern and Southern relations.

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