March 6, 1857 | Dred Scott Decision
On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott when it issued the Dred Scott decision.
In Dred Scott v. Sandford, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that enslaved or free African Americans could not be American citizens. The 7-2 decision by the nation’s highest court defeated Scott’s suit to acquire his freedom along with that of his wife and two daughters. His owners had taken him to free states and territories.
Although, this was a monumental loss for millions of American slaves, later rulings gave African Americans equal protection under the law and full citizenship (The Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution).