Dred and Harriet Scott, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June 27, 1857

Lincoln’s Response to Dred Scott

In March 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that African Americans could not be citizens of the United States and could not sue in federal court, as Dred Scott, a Missouri slave, had done to gain his freedom after living briefly in Illinois and Wisconsin. Lincoln publicly criticized the decision, stating that blacks were entitled to the same freedom whites had but he also used the occasion to endorse colonization.