In the 1830s, Blow sold Scott to an army surgeon, John Emerson, who then took him to live in the free state of Illinois, and later at Fort Snelling in Wisconsin Territory—where slavery was prohibited by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
<a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/collections/af3fdd09-8402-4acc-97a6-144334801209">The Northwest Ordinance</a> of 1787 outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territories.
<i>Article the Sixth. There shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary Servitude in the said territory otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.</i>
Taney on African Americans:
<i>...they were at that time [of the Constitution’s ratification] considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.</i>
On territorial powers:
<i>The powers over person and property of which we speak are not only not granted to Congress, but are in express terms denied, and they are forbidden to exercise them.</i>
Learn more about the Taney court <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/government-and-civics/essays/marshall-and-taney-courts-continuities-and-changes">here</a>.
<a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/collections/be95e3f1-5838-4259-9498-535823134397">Frederick Douglass</a>, former slave and noted abolitionist, denounced the Taney court in a May 1857 speech in New York. Douglass's speech was widely circulated as a pamplet.
<i>Your fathers have said that man’s right to liberty is self-evident. There is no need of argument to make it clear. The voices of nature, of conscience, of reason, and of revelation, proclaim it as the right of all rights, the foundation of all trust, and of all responsibility. Man was born with it. It was his before he comprehended it...</i>
<i>To decide against this right in the person of Dred Scott, or the humblest and most whip-scarred bondman in the land, is to decide against God.</i>
Abraham Lincoln spoke out against the Dred Scott decision in his famous "<a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/lincoln/resources/%E2%80%9Chouse-divided%E2%80%9D-speech-ca-1857%E2%80%931858">House Divided</a>" speech in June of 1858:
<i>Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and put it in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old, as well as new—Do you doubt it? Study the Dred Scott decision, and then see, how little, even now, remains to be done—</i>
Matthew Pinsker on the meaning and context of Lincoln's "House Divided" speech.
The Dred Scott decision and the dispute over slavery became a major talking point in the 1860 election, resulting in Lincoln's victory and the <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/failure-compromise/resources/union-dissolved-1860">secession</a> of the southern states.
Although the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the rebel states, it did not offer freedom for slaves in states that had remained loyal to the Union.
The <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/african-americans-and-emancipation/timeline-terms/thirteenth-amendment">Thirteenth Amendment</a> (1865) officially abolished slavery, stating:
<i>Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.</i>
The <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/reconstruction/timeline-terms/fourteenth-amendment">Fourteenth Amendment</a> (1868) ensured citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States."
The <a href="http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/reconstruction/timeline-terms/fifteenth-amendment">Fifteenth Amendment</a> (1870) gave all male citizens the right to vote, regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
After being manumitted in 1857, Dred Scott worked as a porter in a St. Louis hotel until his death in September of 1858. Until her death in 1876, Harriet worked as a laundress in St. Louis and raised their daughters as free women.