Dred Scott v. Sandford
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
The Dred Scott decision immediately deepened the divide between the North and South, abolitionists and pro-slavery factions, and Republicans and Democrats. When the decision came down, Abraham Lincoln was a largely unknown lawyer who had served one term in Congress ten years earlier but he became one the most articulate critics of the decision. The Dred Scott case made both Scott and Lincoln national figures. Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign was largely based on prohibiting slavery from the territories—the exact issue that the Scott case engaged.