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The Dred Scott Decision, 1857
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Advertisement for a pamphlet of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision. In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, declared that all blacks, slaves as well as free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country's territories. The case before the court was that of Dred Scott v. Sanford. Dred Scott, a slave who had lived in the free state of Illinois and the free territory of Wisconsin before moving back to the slave state of Missouri, had appealed to the Supreme Court in hopes of being granted his freedom. Abolitionists were incensed. Although disappointed, Frederick Douglass found a bright side to the decision and announced, "my hopes were never brighter than now." For Douglass, the decision would bring slavery to the attention of the nation and was a step toward slavery's ultimate destruction.
March 7th, 2013
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