First Side: Dredd Scott was a slave in the United States. After his owner took him from a free state and a free territory, he later passed away. He claimed to the widow that he was now a free man because her husband had taken him to Illinois and Wisconsin, as they were both free areas. He filed a case to sue the widow because of this.
Second Side: Scott's owner's widow did not deny that they had taken Scott to the free areas, but instead claimed that because Scott was not technically a citizen of the United States, just a free man, he could not sue her. Slave owners of the Southern states had successfully pushed for two new federal laws to be in place, stating that free or escaped slaves had to be returned to the rightful owners.
Supreme Court Decision: The Supreme Court investigated three different pathways to verify the claims given. One, If Scott could or could not sue in his current standing. Two, if according to the Constitution, an African American was entitled to the rights of a United States citizen. Three, if Congress could restrict the states' decision to enter the union as a free or slave state or territory. After investigations were finished, they concluded that Scott was not a citizen of the U.S., and thus could not sue. As a continuation of this, the vast majority of opinions stated that he was not a free man.
How it changed our laws: More laws and regulations were slowly put in place to give slaves more rights in the United States.
How it affected our culture: Following the law changes, people began to see slaves as actual people, eventually banned slavery, and then made it so all African Americans and other slaves were and could become U.S. citizens and were treated like actual people, not tradable property.