Dred Scott v. Sandford

By Brathe and Michaella

All about the Case

Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri. For ten years, he lived in Illinois, which was a free state. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued his owner, believing that his residence in Illinois made him free. Sandford had decided that no African American could be a citizen in the sense of Article III of the Constitution. The case closed with the decision of Scott being property, 7-2 for Sandford.


Dred Scott was a slave. Under Articles 3 and 4, no one but a citizen of the United States could be a citizen of a state, and that only congress could confer national citizenship. Taney reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article 3 purposes. The court then held the Missouri compromise unconstitutional hoping to end the slavery question once and for all.

Who was involved

Dred Scott- petitioner

John F. A. Sandford- Respondent

Taney Court (1853-57)- Decided the case

The Time Period

Argued: Feb. 11-14th of 1856, Dec. 15-18th, 1856

Decided: Mar. 6, 1857

(No events were going on at this time)

Why was this case important?

It escalated the rising sectionalism between the North and the South. This case helped justify the southerners reasoning behind slavery, and the ruling seemed to agitate the free states of the North. This case was supposed to end the slavery question once and for all, but it seemed to only make matters worse.