America in the 1850s

The Supreme Court Decides

How was the Dred Scott decision received?

In the Northern and Western states, it was received with the deepest gloom. In this one ruling, Chief Justice Taney appeared to open the way for slavery to reach every part of the Union. The Republican Party had been growing in strength, but the Dred Scott decision lifted its energy enormously. In the North, too, compromise political parties, such as the American party, received their death knell. The division between pro-slavery and Free-Soil beliefs had grown too large for compromise.

In the South, the Dred Scott decision was hailed as the best of all possible news. The South had felt under assault ever since the Pottawatomie Massacre by John Brown and his sons; now it appeared that the South was on the rise, or comeback. In between the North and the South, in the so-called Border States, the Dred Scott decision was generally considered bad news. The people of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri rightly suspected that any future conflict between the North and the South would take place on their soil(s).


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