Born into slavery in 1799, Dred Scott had no idea that one day he would stand as a figure of motivation and power for the black race in northern America. Scott originally served for the Blow family. Due to economic problems, the Blow family sold Scott to a man named Dr. John Emerson in St. Louis. While under the control of Emerson, Scott traveled to Illinois and the Wisconsin territory, which were both considered free states. While in these areas of antislavery, Scott married Harriet Robinson and they had two kids together. While in these areas, Scott developed a sense of freedom and yearned for more. .
Upon arriving back in St. Louis, Dr. Emerson became suddenly ill and later passed away leaving Scott and his family under the control of Emerson's wife, Irene. In 1846, Dred and Harriet decided to sue Mrs. Emerson for their freedom in the St. Louis Circuit Court. In 1847, Scott lost his case to Mrs. Emerson but was given the opportunity to refile his suit. Three years later in 1850, the jury decided that the Scott's deserved to be free due to their years spent in the free territories. But this did not bring the entire case to an end. At this time in history, slaves were considered valuable property, and as Mrs. Emerson did not want to lose such a thing, she decided to appeal the Circuit Court's decision to the Missouri Supreme Court. There in 1852, the Supreme Court overruled the original Circuit Court decision and Scott was returned to the full custody of Mrs. Emerson. After a year more of finding lawyers to support his cause, .
Scott returned to court, this time in the U. S. Federal Court in St. Louis. The defendant this time was Mrs. Emerson's brother, John Sanford. Here the court rules against Scott as well. Again Scott's lawyers appeal the decision and take the case to the U. S. Supreme Court. After careful deliberation, the court states that Scott should remain a slave and as a slave not have the rights to bring a case to court.