Dred Scott v. Sandford

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Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in which the Court held that the United States Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for people of African descent, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and so the rights and privileges that the Constitution confers upon American citizens could not apply to them.


  • Judge Taney ... may decide, and decide again; but he cannot reverse the decision of the Most High. He cannot change the essential nature of things — making evil good, and good evil. Happily, for the whole human family, their rights have been defined, declared, and decided in a court higher than the Supreme Court.
  • Slavery lives in this country not because of any paper Constitution, but in the moral blindness of the American people, who persuade themselves that they are safe, though the rights of others may be struck down.

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