Good Argumentative Essay About The Dred Scott Decision
The Dred Scott Decision is the Case that took place in 1850s. This Case has a great historical value. It was the first time when the Supreme Court officially declared, that black people are not the citizens of the United States. Let us point out the details of this Case.
Dred Scott was a slave, whose parents were brought to the USA from the African continent and then were sold as slaves. In this Case under our consideration, Dred Scott was a plaintiff and appealed to J. Stanford, the American officer for whom Scott worked, for being assaulted him, his wife and two his daughters. The decision of the Supreme Court can be read in the opinion of Chief Justice : “We think they were not intended to be included, under the word "citizens" in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time 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” ( Taney,1857, p.6). I provide these words in order to make it clear, why this Case is being told about even more than century later. From this citation we can see, that black people became equate to things. This document declared racial discrimination and moreover made it legal. Slaves were named as a property of their owners and, according to the Property Law, nobody could intervene and dispose of other’s property. Nowadays it seems unreal in its inhumanity but only 150 years ago it was a cruel reality.
This Dred Scott Case caused quite a stir at that time. The 1850s years were very difficult for the country. Two different coalitions acted in the USA: The North of the country, which was against slavery, and the South, which struggled for. Each of them had their own interests. The North was an industrial area and in order to prosper it needed high-qualified staff, rather than illiterate and disinterested in work results slaves. The South, on the contrary, was agricultural area which prosperity based on the free slave labor. The American Government tried to keep balance between two these serious coalitions but, as we know from the history, it failed to do this. The USA of 1850s stood on the brink of the civil war. The Dred Scott Decision was one of the reasons for the gap between the North and the South increase and, as a result, for that horrible war to begin. Therefore, we can see a social effect of this Case: it woke up the Antislavery Forces. The progressive part of the American society, who understood the detrimental effects of the slavery, finally realized that they must take decisive steps. It was obvious for them, as well as for us today, that slavery lead the economy, the morality and the society to the collapse and stagnation. They were ready to defend their points of view even with the use of the weapon. Here we come to the political effect of the Dred Scott Decision: it was one of the causes of the beginning of the war. The American Civil War took place from 1861 to 1865. This war claimed the lives of thousands of Americans. There is nothing worse than a civil war, when a brother kills his brother. The consequences of that war had a dual nature. From the one hand, the deaths of people, destroyed cities, roads and factories. However, from the other hand, that war was indirectly useful for the USA. That war made the country to see in the wright direction in order to be united, politically stable and economically developed. We all get used to the USA primarily from that point of view. The main consequence of the Civil War was the adoption of The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The slavery was officially abolished. More than 40 000 slaves became free. The struggle of Dred Scott and his family was not vain.
More than a century passed from that time. Nevertheless, American do not forget their past. Every nation must know and be interested in its history. Golden Ages of our history make us be proud while dark sides of the history make us think, analyze and prevent them to happen again. Americans is a great nation because they are proud of their country and are not afraid to admit their mistakes. A good example of this statement is the work of Brooklyn Academy of Music. Marta Wilson and Mallory Catlett created a performance called “Dread Scott: Decision”. The events of the performance have close connection with the historical ones. The main hero Dread Scott struggled for his freedom and human rights. Unfortunately, he failed and was officially identified as a “property”. This performance is not for those who seek entertainment; it for those who is ready to think and expand his horizons. The performance is hard and rough. It may shock. For example, because in the stage there are four naked people, because the audience is involved and participate in the performance. All these methods aim not to leave the audience indifferent. The creators and actors try their best to recreate the atmosphere of that time and to provide the feeling of hopelessness of the situation. This performance carries a huge meaning. It stimulates people to think, analyze and draw conclusions.
The Dred Scott Decision : opinion of Chief Justice Taney, 1857, transcript.
Dread Scott: Decision at BAM, October 15, 2012, http://mariakucinski.com/tag/dread-scott/
Don E. Fehrenbacher, Slavery,Law and Politics: The Dred Scott Case in Hestorical Perspective ( Oxford University Press, 1981).