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Dred Scott was the name of an African-American slave He was taken by his master an officer in the US Army from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois and then to the free territory of Wisconsin He lived on free soil for a long period of time When the Army ordered his master to go back to Missouri he took Scott with him back to that slave state where soon after his master died In 1846 Scott was helped by Abolitionistanti-slavery lawyers to sue for his freedom in court claiming he should be free since he had lived on free soil for a long time The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B Taney was a former slave owner from Maryland In March of 1857 Scott lost the decision as seven out of nine Justices on the Supreme Court declared no slave or descendant of a slave could be a US citizen or even had been a US citizen As a non-citizen the court stated Scott had no rights and could not sue in a Federal Court and must remain a slave At that time there were nearly 4 million slaves in America The courts ruling affected the status of every enslaved and free African-American in the United States The ruling served to turn back the clock concerning the rights of African-Americans ignoring the fact that black men in five of the original States had been full voting citizens dating back to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 The Supreme Court also ruled that Congress could not stop slavery in the newly emerging territories The Court also declared that it violated the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits Congress from depriving persons of their property without due process of law Anti-slavery leaders in the North cited the controversial Supreme Court Decision as evidence that
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