"Dred Scott was born in Southampton County, Virginia in 1795 as property of
the Peter Blow family. Dred Scott and the Blow family moved to St. Louis,
Missouri in 1830, but due to financial problems, the Blow family sold Scott to
Dr. John Emerson, a doctor for the United States Army. Emerson traveled
extensively in Illinois and the Wisconsin territories where the Northwest
Ordinance prohibited slavery. During those travels with Emerson, Scott met and
married Harriet Robinson, and Emerson met and married Irene Sandford. The Scotts
and the Emersons returned to Missouri in 1842. John Emerson died in 1843. John
F.A. Sandford, brother of the widow Irene Sandford Emerson, became executor of
the Emerson estate.
filed suit to obtain his freedom in 1846, and went to trial in 1847 in a state
courthouse in St. Louis. The Blow family financed his legal defense. They lost
at trial, but the presiding judge granted a second trial because hearsay
evidence had been introduced during the first trial. Three years later, in 1850,
a jury decided the Scotts should be freed under the Missouri doctrine of "once
free, always free." The widow, Irene Sandford Emerson, appealed. In 1852, the
Missouri Supreme Court struck down the lower court ruling, saying, "times now
are not as they were when the previous decisions on this subject were made." The
Scotts were returned to their masters as chattel once more.
With the aid of new lawyers (including Montgomery Blair), the Scotts sued
again in the St. Louis Federal Court. They lost, and appealed to the United
States Supreme Court. In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the
majority opinion. It consisted of the following points.
* The highest court in the United States held that everyone descended from
Africans, whether slaves or free, are not citizens of the United States,
according to the Constitution.
* The Ordinance of 1787 could not confer freedom or citizenship within the
Northwest Territory to Black people who are not citizens recognized by the U.S.
* The provisions of the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, were
voided as a legislative act because it exceeded the powers of Congress in so far
as it attempted to exclude slavery and impart freedom and citizenship to Black
people in the northern part of the Louisiana cession.
In effect, the Taney court ruled that slaves had no claim to freedom, slaves
were property and not citizens, slaves could not bring suit against anyone in
federal court, and because slaves were private property, the federal government
could not revoke a white slave owner's right to own a slave based on where they
lived, thus nullifying the essence of the Missouri Compromise. Chief Justice
Taney, speaking for the majority, also ruled that Scott was a slave, an object
of private property, and therefore subject to the Fifth Amendment prohibition
against taking property from its owner "without due process."
After the ruling, Scott was returned as property to the widow Emerson. In
1857, she remarried. Because her second husband opposed slavery, Emerson
returned Dred Scott and his family to his original owners, the Blow family, who
granted him freedom less than a year and a half before he died from tuberculosis
in September, 1858." ~ from Wikipedia