In high school I only got a very basic summary of the Dred Scott case, but in a Constitutional Law class at Boston College I really got to dig deeper into it. Teaching a summer African American Experience this summer, I wanted to use case studies for each unit to give students a chance to really look at something in depth and do college level work. The result was this assignment which breaks the case into several parts and gives students a chance to make their own legal decisions and assess Justice Taney’s.
Dred Scott Dossier
American law is based on precedent, meaning that each decision is based on not only the written law, but also previous legal decisions. That is why lawyers must spend so much time studying law and why there are extensive legal libraries. In this activity, you will examine a historical legal case and make your own legal decision based on the facts. Read the documents carefully, and render your decision at the end.