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In Dred Scott v.

Sandford (1857) the US Supreme court ruled against Dred Scott

in this case following the Civil War. Dred Scott attempted to sue the widow of the man
who formerly had purchased him in Missouri. They moved to Minnesota, which had
abolished slavery and then later moved back to Missouri. Dred Scott stated in the case
that since they had moved to a state that prohibited slavery, he was a free man.

The Supreme Court ruled, We think they [people of African ancestry] are . . . not included,
and were not intended to be included, under the word "citizens" in the Constitution, and can therefore
claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the
United States. They ruled in a 7-2 majority against Dred Scott.

This case is an example of the Historical School of thought. This ruling is based
on the wording of the constitution that says does not allow a person who is imported to
considered a citizen. Since Dred Scott could not be considered a citizen, according to
the 1857 US Supreme Court, then he could not bring a suit which is allowed in the
constitution. The Supreme Court also ruled that since Dred Scott could not be
considered a citizen, then he should not have access to the Supreme Court. Therefore
the court dismissed the case.

The Critical Legal Studies School of thought would view this case as a ruling that
was handed down to preserve the interests of the wealthy. If this case were to have
ended in the opposite manner, it would have led to other suits being brought to the
court. This would not have been in the best interest of the elitists. By allowing Dred
Scott to bring the suit, it would have given many slaves the full liberty of speech in
public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak. This
would have brought discontent and defiance among the slaves, which would then
threaten the peace and safety of the individual state.

"Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)." Street Law. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.


"Scott v Sandford." UMKC School of Law. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.