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Dred Scott (1799 – September 17, 1858), was an African-American slave in the United States who sued unsuccessfully for his freedom in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. His case was based on the fact that although he and his wife Harriet Scott were slaves, he had lived with his master Dr. John Emerson in states and territories where slavery was illegal according to both state laws and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, including Illinois and Minnesota (which was then part of the Wisconsin Territory). The United States Supreme Court ruled seven to two against Scott, finding that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States, and therefore Scott could not bring suit in federal court under diversity of citizenship rules. Moreover, Scott’s temporary residence outside Missouri did not bring about his emancipation under the Missouri Compromise, since that would improperly deprive Scott’s owner of his legal property.

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