From our private database of 30,900+ case briefs...
Dred Scott v. Sandford
United States Supreme Court
60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857)
Dred Scott (plaintiff) was an African American man born a slave in Virginia in the late 1700s. In 1830, he was taken by his owners to Missouri and purchased by Army Major John Emerson in 1832. Emerson took Scott with him on various assignments in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory, areas that outlawed slavery based on Congress’s enactment of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the Missouri Compromise of 1820. While in Wisconsin, Emerson allowed Scott to marry and later left Scott and his wife in Wisconsin when he was reassigned to Louisiana. While in Louisiana, Emerson married Eliza Irene Sandford. He then sent for Scott and his wife, who traveled to Louisiana to serve Emerson and his wife. After Emerson’s death in 1843, his widow inherited his estate, including Scott. Scott attempted to purchase his freedom from Emerson’s widow, but she refused. In 1846, Scott sued Emerson’s widow for the freedom of himself and his family, but the Missouri Supreme Court upheld their slavery. Scott brought suit again in 1853 in federal district court against John Sandford (defendant), executor of Emerson’s estate. The federal court relied on Missouri law to find that Scott was still a slave, and the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Scott petitioned for certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Taney, C.J.)
Concurrence (Wayne, J.)
Concurrence (Campbell, J.)
Concurrence (Catron, J.)
Concurrence (Daniel, J.)
Concurrence (Nelson, J.)
Concurrence (Grier, J.)
Dissent (McLean, J.)
Dissent (Curtis, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 552,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 552,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 30,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.