The Dred Scott Decision And The Abolition Movement

When the constitution was written, The United States did not give clear guidelines about slavery. As a result, this was a reason why slavery became such a heated political issue. It was a growing crisis that consumed the entire American nation and lead to the fighting over the future of slavery. There were many factors that caused the American Civil War in 1861, such as the Kansas Nebraska Act, the Compromise of 1850, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Presidental Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, which formed a new political party. In the 1850’s, two key events were primary causes of the Civil War: the Dred Scott Decision and the Abolition movement and it’s literature. Northerners were confronted with the brutality and horrors …show more content…
He believed they were free because they had lived in free states. In the bias Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, five out of the nine judges were from slave states. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision that took ten years of litigation before a decision. The Court ruled that because Scott was not a citizen of the United States, he could not legally claim violation of his constitutional rights. He had no rights, because blacks were regarded as beings of an inferior order. Simply put, they were property. It also ruled that his home state determined his status, not his travels. Third, it stated that Congress’s power did not include the right to prohibit slavery. This decision while igniting the Republican Party only helped to strengthen their claim that the slaveholding south presented a threat against northern liberties of “free soil, free labor, and free men.” Northerners were taken back by the Court’s decision and Southerners were outraged that Northerners considered a Supreme Court ruling “just an opinion.” This was a blow to the national unity pushing the nation into war. This was proof to the North of the sinister Slave Power of the government that involved the Supreme Court, Congress, and President Buchanan. The failure of the United States to acknowledge that the rights of Black Americans were as absolute as those of White Americans is what …show more content…
Harriett Tubman was one of the most successful abolitionist that led over three hundred slaves to freedom. Northern states passed “personal liberty laws” that provided fugitive slaves with some protection. Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery met William Garrison in an abolitionist meeting and began to be an abolitionist speaker in the North for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1845, Frederick Douglass wrote The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, a chronicle of his life. In his essay Douglass stated that slavery had harmful affects on slaveholders own morality as well as slaves, and should be outlawed for the “greater good of all society.” Douglass’s Narrative became a bestseller in 1845. He then started his own abolitionist newspaper, The North Star in 1845. Just as there were radical Southerners called “fire-eaters,” who urged secession from the Union, there were also fanatic abolitionists. John Brown in 1859 led an antislavery posse to Harpers Ferry, Virginia; they seized the armory hoping to incite a slave rebellion. He was captured by Colonel Robert E. Lee and looked upon as an antislavery martyr in the North when he was

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