Dred Scott v. Sandford Questions and Answers

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How effective was the Dred Scott case in settling the conflict over slavery?

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The case of Dred Scott v Sandford (1857) didn't settle the conflict over slavery at all; in fact, it made that conflict even worse.

Among other things, the Supreme Court's notorious ruling effectively sent out a message to the non-slave states that they had to accept the existence of slaves on their territory if slaveholders brought their slaves with them.

Understandably, this infuriated opponents of slavery. It seemed that there was a double standard in the application of states' rights. Whereas Southern states were entitled to practice slavery, Northern and Midwestern states weren't allowed to prevent slaveholders from bringing slaves into their territory.

Once again, it seemed to many that slaveholders were getting their own way, using the courts as well as Congress to protect the so-called peculiar institution. Such a blatant imbalance of power within the American system of government led to growing tensions between North and South, which would eventually lead to the Civil War.

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