In 1846, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet (slaves) sued for their freedom in a St. Louis city court. Odds were in their favor, they lived with their owner, an army surgeon, at Fort Snelling, then in free territory of Wisconson. Scott's freedom could be establised on grounds that they had been held in bondage for an extended pperiod in a rfree territory, then returned to a slave state. Courts had ruled this way in the past. However, what showed as a straightforward lawsuit between two private parties, soon became an 11-year legal struggle that cumulated in one of the mos nutorious decisions veer issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.