SAT Subject US History Practice Question 962: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 962

43. Dred Scott believed that he was entitled to freedom because he lived for a period of time in

A. unsettled territory in the West.
B. Illinois, which had been organized under the Northwest Ordinance.
C. Massachusetts, which had abolished slavery.
D. Kansas, which was being organized under the policy of popular sovereignty.
E. Missouri, where he had been born.

Correct Answer: B


Dred Scott lived in Illinois and Wisconsin with his master as a free man from 1834 to 1838. Illinois was part of the Old Northwest, which had been settled under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, prohibiting slavery, and Wisconsin was a free state under the Missouri Compromise. Scott sued for his freedom upon returning to Missouri. He was trying to establish his right to be legally free because he had lived in free territory. Chief Justice Roger Taney's decision to consider him property and re-enslave him, and then to deny the right of Congress to legislate about the question of slavery, shook the nation in 1857. Scott did not go to unsettled territory in the West (A), Massachusetts (C), or Kansas (D). Missouri (E) was a slave state, and he had lived there as a slave.

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