There are no surviving quotes attributed to Dred Scott. However, there are many quotes about the Dred Scott Decision, such as Abraham Lincoln's 1857 thoughts regarding the Supreme Court's refusal to grant Scott his freedom. Lincoln said, "But we think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous."Continue Reading
Dred Scott was an enslaved man in Missouri who unsuccessfully sued in the courts for his freedom in the mid-1800s. His case was eventually heard in 1857 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that Scott could not claim citizenship and therefore could not sue for freedom. After Scott lost his court cases, he was freed by Henry Taylor Blow in a process called manumission. He lived one year as a free man before he died of tuberculosis in 1858. The Supreme Court's decision was nullified in 1863 by the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Dred Scott Decision refers to the 1857 decision that denied Scott and his family their freedom. Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that no person of African ancestry was an American citizen. He wrote that only people "...who were at the time of the adoption of the Constitution recognized as citizens" could be citizens "and none other." He further wrote that the Constitution "...was formed by them and for them and their posterity, but for no one else."
Robert Purvis, an abolitionist, wrote in response, "This atrocious decision furnishes final confirmation ... that, under the Constitution and government of the United States, the colored people are nothing but an alien, disfranchised, and degraded class." The Chicago Daily Tribune agreed and wrote an article proclaiming the Supreme Court justices to be "five slaveholders and two doughfaces."Learn more about US History