Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dred Scott v. Sandford
The Supreme Court's 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford starkly illustrates the intersection of race in U.S. society, law, and politics before the outbreak of the Civil War. Initiated by two slaves seeking their freedom through the U.S. court system, the case ironically had the short-term consequence of strengthening the slavery system. In the long run, however, the case invigorated the movement for abolition and became one of the most often-cited events leading up to the Civil War and the eventual freedom of all Black people. This entry describes the history of the case and outlines its consequences. The events preceding the decision tell an intriguing story of how the institution of chattel slavery in the United States deprived Blacks of virtually all aspects of legal or social personhood. This includes parental and filial rights and even the right to determine one's own name. For example, the individual known ...