In 1846, Dred Scott and his wife
Harriet filed suit for their freedom in the St. Louis Circuit Court.
began an eleven-year legal fight that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court,
issued a landmark decision declaring that the Scotts remained slaves.
decision contributed to rising tensions between the free and slave
before the American Civil War.
The Revised Dred Scott Case Digital Collection
This website hosts a digital collection of
from the Dred Scott case and provides information about Dred Scott’s
family, and about the proceedings. It is
made available through the collaboration of the Missouri State
http://digital.wustl.edu/d/dre/index.html (click on browse tab to get to original documents; click on chronology tab for a timeline)
Contemporary Publications from the American Memory Collection (Library of Congress)
Case of Dred Scott in the
This PDF document is available through Library of Congress, American Memory Collection. It includes the text of the decision (two full opinions plus abstracts), reprinted by Horace Greeley & Co. in 1860, together with an Introduction by Dr. J.H. Van Evrie and an Appendix Containing an Essay on the Natural History of the Prognathous Race of Mankind, by Dr. S.A. Cartwright.
Historical and Legal Examination of That Part of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the U.S. in the Dred Scott Case, by Thomas H. Benton (N.Y.: D. Appleton & Co., 1857)
A Legal Review of the Case of Dred Scott, as Decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, by Horace Gray and John Lowell (Boston: Crosby, Nichols & Co., 1857).
Examination of the Case of Dred Scott Against
Letter, Roger Brooke Taney to Caleb Cushing thanking Cushing for his support of Taney's decision in the Dred Scott case (November 9, 1857).
Contemporary Publications from the New York Times Archives
A search for “dred scott” will yield numerous contemporary articles about the case, the subsequent emancipation of Dred Scott, reactions among state legislatures and more.
courthouse that was site of Dred Scott trial
Publications from the Making of
Opinion of Judge Daniel, in the Case of Dred Scott (New Englander and Yale Review, Vol. 15 Issue 59, August 1857).
The Dred Scott Case (North American Review, Vol. 85 Issue 177, October 1857).
Letters to the Editor: Chief Justice Taney in Relation to the Dred Scott Case (The Century, Vol. 26 Issue 5, October 1883).
J.A. Walter, 957-58
Courtenay DeKalb, 958
Landmark Cases: Dred Scott (from Street Law & the Supreme Court Historical Society)
Diagram of case movement through court system:
Contemporary newspaper editorials:
Abraham Lincoln speech on Dred
Scott decision (June 26, 1857): http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=52
The Dred Scott Decision and its Bitter Legacy (from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)
Online exhibit, includes images and documents as well as information about the trials, the parties and the judges.
the Dred Scott case
Books Recently Published
Austin, Allen. Origins
of the Dred Scott Case: Jacksonian
Jurisprudence and the Supreme Court, 1837-1857 (
Finkelman, Paul. Dred Scott v Sandford: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997).
Graber, Mark A. Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil (N.Y.:
Kaufman, Kenneth. Dred Scott’s Advocate: A Biography of
Maltz, Earl M. Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery (Lawrence, KS.: University Press of
Urofsky, Melvin. The
Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions (
VanderVelde, Lea. Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery’s Frontier (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2009).