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Roger Taney issues decision in Dred Scott Case


Chief Justice Taney finds that Dred Scott, a slave who sued for his freedom because one of his previous masters had taken him to live for a short time in a free state, has no constitutional right to sue in federal court. Taney reasons that slaves are not citizens and thus cannot sue in federal court. Furthermore, Taney finds that the Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional and that, since blacks are inferior to whites, they do not enjoy all the rights which the constitution guarantees to citizens because the founders meant for only whites to be considered citizens when they wrote the constitution. This finding will inflame already existing tension between the North and the South. (By Joanne Williams)

Source Citation: 

Carol Swisher, Roger B. Taney, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935); 495-509.


How to Cite This Page: "Roger Taney issues decision in Dred Scott Case," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,