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1850-1865: We are a house divided, a nation torn by bloody civil war

March 6, 1857
The Dred Scott decision widens the North-South divide

Dred Scott

Opposition to southern opinion upon this subject is now opposition to the Constitution...
—Augusta Constitutionalist

A slaveholder’s instead of a freemen’s constitution? Never!
—New York Evening Post

The nation is still reeling.

Last month, the Supreme Court declared that Dred Scott had no right to sue in federal court—or any other constitutional right—because no black American, slave or free, can be a U.S. citizen.

Dred Scott says he deserves freedom because he spent time with his owner in a free state and territory. Seven of the nine Justices disagree.

They’ve thrown out the 1820 compromise that made the territories free, saying that Congress unconstitutionally deprived slaveholders of their Fifth Amendment property rights.

Slavery supporters congratulate themselves. But outraged opponents vow they’ll overturn the decision.

If the Justices think this ruling will finally settle the dispute over slavery in the territories, they may be in for a shock.

Read about it in the New York times

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