an important decision made by the US Supreme Court in 1857. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by a slave (=someone who is legally owned by another person) called Dred Scott. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court officially decided that Dred Scott, like otherslaves, could not be considered a citizen of the US. He also stated that Congress must not prevent any state from having slavery. These decisions made many people extremely angry, especially the abolitionists (=people who wanted to end slavery and make it illegal) and members of Congress, and the Dred Scott Case is considered one of the causes of the AmericanCivil War.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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