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Dred Scott Case - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Dred Scott: An Analysis and Review Once the final shot of the Civil War had long since faded into memory, the court cases, legislation, and societal understanding of the African-Americans were ultimately of the most importance with regards to building a new Republic based upon existing determinants of race and the means by which an individual of African-American ethnicity would ultimately integrate within such a society…
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Dred Scott Case
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Download file to see previous pages As a function of analyzing one of the most important Supreme Court cases of the first half of the 18th century, this brief analysis will analyze the case of Dred Scott; and its ruling, results, and implications for African-Americans as a whole. Ultimately, the case of Dred Scott concerned a slave who sued his owner for his freedom. As a result of the fact that none of the previous reports were amenable to Dred Scott’s charge, the case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the nuances of the case made it slightly more complex than merely representing the right of an individual to sue his/her master as a means of attaining a level of freedom. The case itself, from Dred Scott’s perspective, hinged upon the fact that two of the states in which he served and was held as a slave, specifically Illinois and Minnesota, had outlawed slavery. As a function of this flagrant disregard for the law, Scott’s case ultimately hinged upon what would be one of the causal factors for the Civil War; i.e. states rights. The court ultimately ruled that African Americans, such as Dred Scott, had no claim to either freedom nor citizenship; regardless of whether or not they were held as slaves in non-slaveholding states. Although this may seem in and of itself as something of a shocking determination, even more shocking was the fact that the Dred Scott case implicitly overruled the Missouri Compromise. As such, the Missouri compromise was a piece of legislation that helps to divide the United States between slaveholding and non-slaveholding states based upon geography. However, due to the fact Supreme Court would not recognize the Dred Scott’s claim to freedom, regardless of the fact that he was held as a sleeve against his will in a non-slaveholding state, the Missouri Compromise was additionally deemed as unconstitutional. Further, it was ruled that the reason for this unconstitutionality was the fact that the federal government did not have the right to intervene in, nor make laws regarding the provision of slavery within the territories. More importantly, the Supreme Court’s ruling (by 7-1 no less) determined that Dred Scott was merely property of his owners and as such was subject to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the taking of property from the owner without “due process under law”. This only served to further weaken the understanding of the slave as a human being under the law. Moreover, it legitimized the practice of slavery in the fact that it referenced the slave as a form of property that could not be re-allocated without due process under law; in very much the same way the government might reallocate a piece of land, or a given piece of agricultural equipment. Such a level of dehumanization had far reaching impacts. This of course had far-reaching impacts as well as further differentiation and definition of how the African-American slave was used in society. Before delving into the ways in which this land work case affected the future of African-Americans within the United States, it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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