Thomas A. Bailey and David M. Kennedy, eds., The American Spirit, 9th ed., vol.1 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998), 421-22.
Dred Scott, an illiterate Missouri slave, was taken by his master for several years (1834-1838) to the free state of Illinois and then to a portion of Wisconsin Territory now located in the state of Minnesota. The Minnesota area was then free territory, since it lay north of the line of 36 30’ established by the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (subsequently repealed in 1854). Scott, taken in hand by interested abolitionists, sued for his freedom on the grounds of residence on free soil. The case was appealed from the circuit court to the Supreme Court, which grappled with several basic questions: Was a slave a citizen under the Constitution? (If not, he was not entitled to sue in federal courts.) Was Dred Scott rendered free by residence in Wisconsin Territory, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise? The Court, headed by the pro-Southern Chief Justice Roger Taney of the slaveholding state of Maryland, ruled as follows.