9 Nov 2022


Dred Scott: The Man Who Changed America

Format: Chicago

Academic level: University

Paper type: Book Report

Words: 846

Pages: 3

Downloads: 0

The political culture of America was intruded by controversial issues that resulted to the voices of the minority versus the majority. These issues affect decision made by court over the right of citizenship. In the case of the African American who was liberated from slavery, we find that it was a controversy that triggered the issue of slavery and racism. The judgment brought forward by Justice Roger B was one of the judgments considered to be uncouth and with intentions to divided rather than to unite the people of Americans. The fact that the judge is a white citizen of American was a clear indication that his judgment was not right and he was considered of ‘satanic figure’ according to the recent activists against slavery. Slavery was practiced long before there was revolution in America, therefore Scott used to work as a slave to John Emerson. It appears that Scott and his family ware liberated three months before the judgment took place. It is important to also understand that blacks, formed the major population of slaves in America and each slave had its owner (Finkleman, 1997). 

The two main parties in America, the republican and democrat have been arguing over the power of the Supreme Court decision. This is where politicians are deemed to support Supreme Court decisions that are not right and human. Take for the case of Scott whereby some politicians supported the Supreme Court decision against Scott emancipation and the journey towards gaining American citizenship. Some politicians have been pointed to cause division in power as well as to the people of America. It is obvious that the two parties conflict because they both have different perceptions and opinions about social life and issues. The Republican Party was formed to purposely oppose slavery, therefore the decision to deny Scott his freedom painted a bad picture on the democrat politicians and the supreme judge. Slavery is one of the social issues that bring division when it comes to parties that opposes it or supports it. This is because during the times of revolution, it was believed that all people are equal and therefore no human that should be subjected to slavery. Even though it was practiced before revolution, the democrats therefore believed that black people are not worth freedom, that they should be the workers of the whites. The rise of activists resulted to contradiction among the judges in the supreme that supported either of the party. Therefore the case of Scott was purely political and it was sided on the fact that the judge was a pure democrat who believed in slavery. 

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Civil war emerged as a result of democrat division preceded by Scott case. The Supreme Court judges contradicted upon the judgment and this triggered civil war among politicians, the democrats the republicans and the Supreme Court. Douglas for example opposed the ruling claiming that it was intended to destroy his doctrine of judgment. President Buchanan and his supporters, the likes of Taney and pierce supported the ruling which triggered arguments that made the American constitution worthy to be amended according to the republicans. In this view it is important to understand the role of the supreme court which is that of making the final decision upon a case, however, when there is political interest upon the case at hand, it is also important to understand the importance of constitution and hence it is upon the judges to decide on who’s side to lean on; is it the political side or the constitution? 

Election of Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth president of the United States was appropriate strategy among the citizens of America. During his reign, the civil war was ongoing and he had to use his skills to lead the nation through the devastating period of division among the same people of the same nation. Abraham in the ‘house divided’ speech pointed out the people behind the fall of America; he blamed the supreme court over responding negatively to sensitive social issue such as slavery and racism. The fact that Scott was black; and a slave is evident that the judgment was in favor of democrats. This was the main cause of civil war because it was believed that the judges sided with politicians to go against Scott’s freedom. It is not a wise move to collide with politicians on sensitive matter that would result to national division. It was wrong for the president Buchanan and his supporters to conspire with the judges and rule out that Scott could not be granted his freedom and hence his citizenship. The fact that America is a big nation consisting of eleven states, is a clear indication that social issues should be taken sensitive and with appropriate approach that will not cause any controversy. 

According to Lincoln, Taney was making a move that intended to blind the republicans by setting a strategy to appoint new supreme courts and a new legislation. This was a desperate move to cover the evil judgments that resulted to war among the people of America. Lincoln therefore opens the eyes of republicans by instilling the truth on how politics could influence the decision made by Supreme Court. Lincoln quoted that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’ whereby he referred to civil war as a strategy to divide all the Americans and the five mentioned politicians conspiracy to nationalize slavery as an immoral turning point in America. 


Finkleman, Paul. Dred Scott Vs. Sandford: A Brief History with Documents . Macmillan, 1997. 

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