Scott v. Stanford: A Decision That Would Change the Future
“You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the
world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing.” This quote was said by John Piper, a well-known preacher and author. Piper gave people hope, just like Dred Scott. Scott survived the herculean battle on the road to freedom. He pled for his family’s withdraw from slavery; however, in the end, he ended up suing his master in a case that traveled all the way up to the Supreme Court. This gave hope and courage to slaves who wanted to stand up to their masters to break their infinite ties to slavery. Scott devoted most of his life to this. He made an ever-lasting change in this world by helping lead the “rebellious South” and the “infallible North” towards the Civil War. All in all, Dred Scott was a simple slave who led a complex life, a man who sued for his freedom, and a hero to the slaves for helping lead the United States to the Civil War.
Dred Scott did not have the same childhood that a child might have today, simply because he was a slave. Dred Scott was born in Southampton County, Virginia in 1785. Scott’s parents originally named him Sam, but he decided to change it to Dred when his older brother named Dred died as a young man (“The Chronology of an Era”). No one knows the exact date and place of Scott’s birth since he was a slave. Not one person would have cared enough to note such details. Additionally, many believed his arrival as nothing more than a piece of property.
Scott was born as the property of Peter Blow, just as his parents had been. Blow was a man who owned a large and very successful plantation. As Scott grew up, Blow used him as a general handyman. He worked as a farmhand, stevedore, and even a craftsman. Blow decided to expand his farm, so he took Scott and a small group of other slaves to Alabama. There, his plantation was unsuccessful. Therefore, he moved again, this time to open up a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Around 1830, he was having financial issues and was planning on selling Scott. The following year, however, him and his wife suddenly became sick, and they both died by 1832. After their deaths, Blow’s sister sold Scott for 500 dollars to a surgeon in the U.S. Army.
Dr. John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, was Scott’s second master. Emerson took Scott up north to states like Illinois and Minnesota, where slavery was banned due to the Missouri Compromise of 1820. On these travels, Scott met and married Harriet Robinson. They had two boys who died in infancy and two girls: Eliza and Lizzie. Emerson also married during his work voyages. He wedded Irene Sanford during a brief stay in...