Important supreme court decisions: Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson Dred Scott: (1846-1857) The Dred Scott decision was the culmination of the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, one of the most controversial events preceding the Civil War. In March 1857, the Supreme Court issued its decision in that case, which had been brought before the court by Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before returning to the slave state of Missouri. Scott argued that time spent in a free state entitled him to emancipation. But the court decided that no black, free or slave, could claim U.S. citizenship, and therefore blacks were unable to petition the court for their freedom. The Dred Scott decision outraged abolitionists and heightened North-South tensions. Plessy V. Ferguson: (1890-1896)- Case closed in 1954 Plessy v. Ferguson was an 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. The case stemmed from an 1892 incident in which African-American train passenger Homer Plessy refused to sit in a car for blacks. Rejecting Plessy’s argument that his constitutional rights were violated, the Supreme Court ruled that a state law that “implies merely a legal distinction” between whites and blacks did not conflict with the 13th and 14th Amendments. Restrictive “Jim Crow” legislation and separate public accommodations based on race were encouraged after the Plessy decision, and its reasoning was not overturned until the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Civil war (1861-1865) The Civil War in the United States began in 1861, after decades of simmering tensions between northern and southern states over slavery, states’ rights and westward expansion. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede and form the Confederate States of America; four more states soon joined them. The War Between the States, as the Civil War was also known, ended in Confederate surrender in 1865. The conflict was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin. Amendments:
13 th Amendment: Abolished Slavery (1865) The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865 in the aftermath of the Civil War, abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment states: “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.” Which means: Involuntary servitude (is being forced to work against their will even if you are paid) nor slavery should exist no more. If you commit a crime, the united states can make you work as punishment for what you did. You have to be guilty of the crime before you can be forced to work against your will. Slavery cannot exist in any state in the united states or any territories or land that the US might have.