on the exchange of New York or Boston
as a slave-trader; and no man today blazons the fact that the wealth he inherits was obtained by successful ventures on the Slave-Coast
proceeds to show, after his fashion, that no State can make its black people citizens, because that would be very inconvenient and unsafe for the slaveholders of other States.
“For,” he says:
If they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety.
It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport; and, without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased; to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.
And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.
Having thus determined, to his own satisfaction, that Dred Scott
, being a negro and descended from slaves, had no right to bring this suit, and no standing in the Federal Courts
, and that the Court
has no authority in the premises, the Chief Justice
proceeds to take
jurisdiction, in order to obtain a footing from which to nullify the Missouri Restriction
and deny the right of Congress to exclude Slavery from any territory.
To this end, he affirms that that clause of the Constitution
IV. § 3) which says “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States
,” applies only to such territory as belonged to the United States
at the time the Constitution
The territory covered by the Missouri Restriction
, having all been acquired since
that time, is not, in his view, subject to this provision.
He proceeds to affirm that, by the mere fact of our acquiring territory, “the Government
and the citizen both enter it under the authority of the Constitution
;” in other words, that the Constitution
takes effect upon any territory that our Government may acquire, at the instant of such acquisition, in such manner as to create and uphold the right of every slaveholder to take his slaves thither and hold them there as property.
But this particular and only clause of the Constitution
relating to territory has no application or subsisting validity; because, if it had, it might enable Congress to prohibit Slavery therein.
The Chief Justice
, therefore, nullifies the Missouri Restriction
, and all kindred restrictions, in the following terms:
Upon these considerations, it is the opinion of the Court that the act of Congress which prohibited a citizen from holding property of this kind in the territory of the United States north of the line therein mentioned, is not warranted by the Constitution, and it is therefore void; and that neither Dred Scott himself, nor any of his family, were made free by being carried into this territory, even if they had been carried there by the owner, with the intention of becoming a permanent resident.
But Dred's freedom was claimed on still another ground; viz.: that he had been taken by his master to