The correct answer in this instance is false. In 1857, the decision by the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case denied his plea, determining that no Negro, the term then used to describe anyone with African blood, was or could ever be a citizen. Accordingly, with this majority decision, African Americans had no rights under the U.S. Constitution and no standing to sue in federal court.

This decision also invalidated the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had placed restrictions on slavery in certain U.S. territories. Northern abolitionists were outraged. The Dred Scott case became a rallying point for them and contributed to the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860.

The decision was only the second time that the Supreme Court had ruled an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional. The decision proved to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War. It was functionally superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives African Americans full citizenship.

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