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DRED SCOTT CASE
Transcript of DRED SCOTT CASE
The decision angered the north, and motivated them to elect Lincoln. It made the Northerners realize how biased the supreme court was. The case also decided that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and Kansas Nebraska act were unconstitutional and that slavery could not be outlawed by the federal government, making issues more complicated when the Lecompton Consitution appeared.
A House Divided
The Dred Scott Case
Dred Scott was a slave who was owned in Alabama. However, after the death of his owner, he was sold to a different owner in Missouri, and then taken to the free states of Illinois and Wisconsin where he lived. Then, Scott decided to apply for the freedom of his family under the Missouri Compromise and appeared before the supreme court.
The Lecompton constitution was a constitution written in the state of Kansas, who needed a constitution to apply as a state. The anti-slavery representatives of Kansas were sent to Lecompton to write a constitution, but they instead boycotted writing it. In result, slavery supporters wrote a constitution full of pro-slavery implications. However, when the voting people of Kansas were called to vote on whether the constitution would be sent to DC for approval or not, the majority of free Kansans voted for it not to be sent, or didn't vote at all.
A House Divided
In his House Divided speech, Lincoln urged people to take a stand. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Is the most memorable line from his speech. The Dred Scott case and Lecompton constitution created a lot of controversies, and many people in th North especially, even republicans, considered that the issue of slavery might never be resolved. Republicans began to consider taking a chance on the "middle ground" promoted by Stephen Douglas, which mean allowing there to be both free and slave states. However, Lincoln wanted to show everyone that there was NO middle ground. He wanted to force the nation to take a strong stance and urge people to do something about slavery quickly because the country could not remain divided. Lincoln knew that the country would go either one way or the other. He needed the republicans to know this, and he needed them to fight for what they believed in.
Results and Relevance
However, representatives sent the constitution anyway.The president, James Buchannan, wanted to allow Kansas to enter as a state under the constitution, however, the House of Representatives and Senate refused to allow the Lecompton Constitution and rejected it.. Kansas ended up entering as a free state. The result of the Lecompton constitution was worsening sectionalism. Democrats were split, and anti-slavery, or northern Democrats, joined the republican party, which helped lead to the election of Abraham Lincoln. In the Senate, Stephen Douglas, a Northern Democrat, fought against this Lecompton constitution, saying it humiliates popular sovereignty, Douglass strong stance against slavery continued to strain the Democrats.
Lincoln's speech crushed the South's hope, and they knew that under Lincoln the eradication of slavery would occur. This speech gave the south an ultimatum- succeed or lose their way of life.
During the second Lincoln-Douglas debate, Stephen Douglas tried proving that the principle of Popular Sovereignty could still work despite the court's ruling in the Dred Scott case. Douglas believed that if the people chose so, slavery could be prevented or supported, essentially giving the people the choice to keep or abolish slavery. As a result; Douglas lost support in the south.
In 1850 the St. Louis circuit court ruled that Scott and his family were free.Two years later the Missouri Supreme court reversed the decision. Scott then took his case to the United states supreme court. However the supreme court ruled that no African Americans could ever become citizens of the United States and that Scott had no right to sue in the first place. The Supreme Court also decided that the federal government could not ban slavery in anyway, destroying the idea of popular sovereignty brought forth in the Kansas-Nebraska act.
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Primary Documents in American History. (n.d.). Dred Scott v. Sandford: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/DredScott.html
Speech, M. (2013, November 14). Freeport Doctrine. National Parks Service. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://www.nps.gov/liho/historyculture/debate2.htm
The Lecompton Constitution. (n.d.). - Historic Lecompton Kansas. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://www.lecomptonkansas.com/page/the-lecompton-constitution