Lead: In 1857 the Supreme Court denied Dred Scott his freedom and even the right to sue. It was an early example of judicial strict construction.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: The names of Roger Taney and Dred Scott are forever linked in one of history’s great ironies. Taney was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court which, in 1857, denied freedom to Dred Scott, a slave born in Virginia residing in Missouri. Scott had been the slave of an Army surgeon, John Emerson, and with his master had been posted to various forts before Emerson’s death in 1843. In the course of their various postings, Scott had resided on free soil, states that prohibited slavery. There was a legal tradition in several states that enforced the notion that if a slave resided for any length of time on free soil, he or she was liberated. Scott sued first in state courts and then at the federal level.

 

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