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Scott v. Sandford

Significance, Scott Sues For Freedom, Scott Tries Federal Courts, Victory For Slavery, Defeat For Scott


Dred Scott


John F. A. Sanford

Plaintiff's Claim

That Scott, who was a slave, had become a free man when his owner had taken him to a state designated as "free" under the 1820 Missouri Compromise.

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

Samuel M. Bay, Montgomery Blair, George Ticknor Curtis, Alexander P. Field, Roswell M. Field, David N. Hall

Chief Defense Lawyers

Hugh A. Garland, H. S. Geyer, George W. Goode, Reverdy Johnson, Lyman D. Norris

Justices for the Court

John Archibald Campbell, John Catron, Peter Vivian Daniel, Robert Cooper Grier, Samuel Nelson, Roger Brooke Taney (writing for the Court), James Moore Wayne

Justices Dissenting

Benjamin Curtis, John McLean


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

6 March 1857


That Dred Scott was still a slave, regardless of where his owner took him.

Related Cases

  • Stader v. Graham, 10 How. 82 (1851).
  • Ableman v. Booth, 21 How. 506 (1859).
  • Commonwealth v. Aves, 18 Pickering 193 (1936).


Biskupic, Joan and Witt, Elder. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, third edition Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1997.


Hurwitz, Howard L. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of American History New York: Washington Square Press, 1974.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882