Dred Scott Continues to Cause Difficulties for the United States

The reason we're having to put up with all this business about anchor babies and birthright citizenship is because of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott vs. Sandford Decision of 1857. It's a classic case study in the Law of Unintended Consequences. A brief summary: Dred Scott was a Missouri slave who had permitted a lawsuit for his freedom to be filed on his behalf, on the grounds that his master (a U.S. Army doctor) had taken him along with him for three years in Fort Armstrong, Illinois (near Rock Island), and later on to Fort Snelling in Wisconsin Territory (now in Minnesota).  Scott was retained as a slave in both places, in violation respectively of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (for Illinois) and the Missouri Compromise (for Fort Snelling).  After Scott's master left Fort Snelling for Louisiana, he left Scott behind in Fort Snelling and hired him out as a slave laborer, also in violation of the Missouri Compromise.  Along the way, they also had...(Read Full Article)

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