English 11 Honors
15 January 2015
The Impact of the Dred Scott Case on Slavery
The Dred Scott Case was the biggest and most prolific case in the 18th century. At the time, slavery was a big topic of discussion in the North and South. Upon the beginning of the New World, it is estimated that six to seven million slaves were imported to America during the 18th century alone. The Dred Scott case impacted slavery by giving southern slave owners a new legal standing, making abolitionists angry about the final verdict, and giving enslaved African Americans no hope for freedom.
The Mississippi River runs south from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico and is considered the chief river in North America's largest drainage system. Bordering Missouri on the east, the river flows for 2,530 miles. Along with the Missouri River and several other tributaries such as the Ohio River, the Mississippi became part of the nation's first major transportation system in the early 1800s after the invention of the steamboat. Missouri has historically engaged in international trade by shipping and receiving goods along the Mississippi through the port of New Orleans, which lies at the river's mouth. The Dred Scott Case verdict gave southern slave owners a new legal standing. It gave them a new sense of confidence towards slavery. They no longer had to worry about the possibility of slavery being abolished because the Constitution forbade Congress from making slavery illegal. America had undergone many changes since the introduction to slavery in 1619. Northerners did not believe in slavery, while southern slave owners condoned it. To the south, slavery was a necessity to the economy and it just became a way of life. By 1840, the production of cotton in the southern U.S. had soared to more than 834 million pounds a year. With the coming of the Dred Scott case, slave owners feared for their rights. Since the start of slavery, the southern government always backed up the ideals of slavery. Never before has a slave owner had to worry about having to find another way to have an inflow of money into their household. Slavery has always been the crutch for them. When Dred Scott was accused of being a slave when he actually was a free man, it scared slave owners. They did not know what the outcome of the case would be. They did not know if they would have to set their slaves free one day. Slave states consisted of: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and states south of those. Virginia is actually the first slave state that the U.S. had. Missouri was added to the union as a slave state in 1821. The bringing of a new slave state brought more slave owners to the United States. The Constitution had upheld the idea of slavery. It forbade Congress to abolish it. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 required the government to actively assist slave owners in recapturing runaway slaves. This law made the northerners and especially the abolitionists very angry. Anyone caught hiding or assisting runaway slaves would face serious consequences or even be put to death. The law and the government clearly favored slave owners and the ways of the South. (History Century) In the South they did not generally have ‘Slave Laws’ they called them slave codes. Each state had a set of codes that said what a slave could and could not do. These slave codes gave slave owners absolute and total power over slaves. Slave owners basically lived by these codes. If a slave dare break one of these codes, unspeakable things would be done to them. Not just receiving lashes, they would be tortured or even killed. The verdict from the Dred Scott case had made abolitionists very angry and mad. They felt that the government was wrong with their decision and they needed to change it. An abolitionist is a person who favors the removal of inhumane practices like slavery. Abolitionists had been following the Scott v. Sandford throughout the whole trial and