The Dred Scott Case


US History The Civil War The Dred Scott Case
Students learn about the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford and its impact on the nation prior to the Civil War. Then, they investigate the dissenting opinion in the case.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Here are the teacher pack items for The Dred Scott Case:

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford and its impact on the nation prior to the Civil War. Then, they investigate the dissenting opinion in the case.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scene 2 to scene 4.

Note that the defendant in the case was John Sanford. A clerical error led to the misspelling of his surname in the case title, and it was never corrected.

Objective:

  • Summarize the impact of the Dred Scott case on the nation.




Dred Scott


In March of 1857, the Supreme Court announced one if its most controversial decisions ever made. The case was Dred Scott v. Sandford. Dred Scott was a slave who had lived with his owner in the free states of Illinois and Wisconsin and then returned to the slave state of Missouri. After his return to Missouri, Scott sued for his freedom arguing that by spending time in free territories, he was a free man.

Objective:

  • Summarize the impact of the Dred Scott case on the nation.
Scott’s argument for freedom was based on a Missouri state law that declared “Once free, always free.”


Explain what you think this law means.

Post your answer

Discuss with students some of their responses. Explain that the Missouri law stated that any person held in wrongful servitude could sue for freedom if they had evidence of wrongful enslavement. Since Wisconsin and Illinois were free states, Scott claimed that he had been free and upon returning to Missouri he should be free. In this experience, students will be learning about the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford—the ruling and its impact.


Divide students into small groups for the next scene. When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Civil War Unit.
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