Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

Lesson Plan

This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court decision that determined that Dred Scott, having lived in a free territory, was not entitled to his freedom. Students learn about the impact of the Court’s decision, and how it was a stepping-stone to the Civil War. Students also examine the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which overturned the decision, and the black codes that were passed in some states to weaken them.


  • Define freedom and rights
  • Identify the main arguments put forth in the case
  • Identify the impact of the Supreme Court's decision on Black people and communities in the United States
  • Describe the rationale behind the Supreme Court's decision
  • Explain the impact of the Court's decision on the Civil War and the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments


Downloadable Resources

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