No one in the country could get along. People in the North were arguing with people in the South. The members of Congress could not get along. Americans started to look toward the Supreme Court. They hoped that the judges could answer the question of slavery once and for all.
In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled on a case that had to do with slavery. Dred Scott had been a slave for many years. At first, he had lived in Missouri. Then his owners had moved to Illinois. At one point, his owners moved to the Wisconsin Territory. Slavery was not legal there or in Illinois. After they went back to Missouri, Scott's owner died.
Lawyers helped Scott file a lawsuit. The lawyers said that Scott had become a free man. This had happened when he lived in an area that did not allow slavery.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. It was titled Dred Scott v. Sanford. People waited for the judges' decision. When it came, the South was thrilled. Those that lived in the North were shocked.