Emerson claiming that because of his time on free

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Following Emerson‘s death, Scott sued Mrs. Emerson claiming that because of his time on free soil, he was free and no longer a slave. In 1850, a Missouri court ruled in Scott‘s favor. On appeal, Missouri‘s highest court ruled that whether or not Scott was free in states that barred slavery under the Northwest Compromise was irrelevant, because he was still or had again become a slave upon reentering Missouri. The case then entered the federal judiciary and would shortly find its way to the Supreme Court (Supreme Court Hist. Soc.). As this case worked its way through the court system, the country began to divide more definitively concerning slavery. Northern states not only opposed slavery in their own states, but also sought to end the practice throughout the country. Southern states, relying on slavery-provided cheap labor, staunchly rejected the northern notions. As the population expanded westward, the debate became especially heated. The Northwest Compromise had banned slavery from new states, but in 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed slavery to flourish where it was once banned (Supreme Court Hist. Soc.). Slaves from the South and West began to escape and make their way to the free Northern states, hoping that by reaching free territory, they would then themselves be free.
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6 Owners began to raise and offer rewards for the return of their slaves; states passed runaway slave laws. Northern, abolitionist judges struggled and were caught between their personal beliefs and their duty as judges to enforce the law. Although trial and circuit judges were more often caught in this antagonistic polarity, Chief Justice Taney also felt constrained by the law despite his personal views. Being from the border state of Maryland, Taney especially felt the stress of the growing tensions. Although he had, at one time, personally owned slaves, Taney freed them, retaining a few as servants (and paying them appropriate wages as such), and providing pensions for the ones who were too old to find suitable work (Abraham 82). As Dred Scott‘s case slowly navigated the federal court system, tensions within the country reached an all time high. At the same time, the Supreme Court garnered levels of respect and admiration that even Marshall had not seen. When the Court first heard argument for Dred Scott v. Sandford , 2 the country needed and depended on the justices to resolve the issue for good, thereby keeping the Southern states from seceding and preventing the impending war. By dealing with the controversial issue of the day, the Court had flung itself into the national spotlight. The New York Courier said that ―‗The Court, in trying this case, is itself on trial‘‖ (Supreme Court Hist. Soc.). All eyes 2 After Emerson, Scott‘s owner, died, Scott belonged to his widow, who was the original party sued. When the case was transferred to the federal courts, ownership of Scott was transferred to Mrs. Emerson‘s brother , John Sanford. Court records incorrectly spelled his name, thus the case was titled Dred Scott v. San d ford . The Court first heard oral
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