RESPONDENT: John F. A. Sanford
DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Taney Court (1853-1857)
ARGUED: Feb 11, 1856 / Feb 12, 1856 / Feb 13, 1856 / Feb 14, 1856 / Dec 15, 1856 / Dec 16, 1856 / Dec 17, 1856 / Dec 18, 1856
DECIDED: Mar 06, 1857
George Ticknor Curtis - for Dred Scott
Montgomery Blair - for Dred Scott
Henry S. Geyer - for Sanford
Facts of the case
Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri. From 1833 to 1843, he resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. Scott then brought a new suit in federal court. Scott's master maintained that no pure-blooded Negro of African descent and the descendant of slaves could be a citizen in the sense of Article III of the Constitution.
Was Dred Scott free or slave?