fugitive slave laws

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fugitive slave laws,

in U.S. history, the federal acts of 1793 and 1850 providing for the return between states of escaped black slaves. Similar laws existing in both North and South in colonial days applied also to white indentured servants and to Native American slaves. As slavery was abolished in the Northern states, the 1793 law was loosely enforced, to the great irritation of the South, and as abolitionist sentiment developed, organized efforts to circumvent the law took form in the Underground RailroadUnderground Railroad,
in U.S. history, loosely organized system for helping fugitive slaves escape to Canada or to areas of safety in free states. It was run by local groups of Northern abolitionists, both white and free blacks.
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. Many Northern states also passed personal-liberty laws that allowed fugitives a jury trial, and others passed laws forbidding state officials to help capture alleged fugitive slaves or to lodge them in state jails. As a concession to the South a second and more rigorous fugitive slave law was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850Compromise of 1850.
The annexation of Texas to the United States and the gain of new territory by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the close of the Mexican War (1848) aggravated the hostility between North and South concerning the question of the extension of slavery into the
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. By it "all good citizens" were "commanded to aid and assist [federal marshals and their deputies] in the prompt and efficient execution of this law," and heavy penalties were imposed upon anyone who assisted slaves to escape from bondage. When apprehended, an alleged fugitive was taken before a federal court or commissioner. He was denied a jury trial and his testimony was not admitted, while the statement of the master claiming ownership, even though absent, was taken as the main evidence. The law was so weighted against the fugitives that many Northerners, formerly unconcerned, were now aroused to opposition. New personal-liberty laws contradicting the legislation of 1850 (and described, with some reason, by Southerners as equivalent to South Carolina's notorious ordinance of nullification) were passed in most of the Northern states. Abolitionists fearlessly defied the 1850 act, often mobbing federal officials in attempts to rescue fugitives. In Boston, for instance, the "good citizens," including some of the foremost Brahmins, stormed the federal courthouse, but failed to free the escaped Virginia slave Anthony Burns; moreover, it was thought expedient to have 1,100 soldiers guard him when he was marched aboard ship for his return to bondage. In Lancaster co., Pa., a riot broke out when a federal official ordered Quaker bystanders to help catch a runaway; the Quakers were prosecuted, but not convicted. Other notable fugitive-slave cases arose in Northern courts, and the trials further stirred up public opinion both North and South. The whole dispute, combined with the question of the extension of slavery into the territories, served to set the two sections at each other's throats. The actions of Northern states in nullifying the fugitive slave laws or rendering "useless any attempt to execute them" were cited (Dec. 24, 1860) by South Carolina as one cause for secession. Both acts were finally repealed by Congress on June 28, 1864.
References in periodicals archive ?
THE TOPIC: Between the 1830s and the onset of the Civil War in 1861, the Underground Railroad delivered an estimated 30,000 fugitive slaves to freedom in spite of the punitive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which imposed harsh penalties on citizens caught helping runaways.
Powell and others, had in the past largely accepted the premise that slavery was protected under the Constitution, with Congress even passing the controversial Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which enabled slaveholders to retrieve their runaway slaves from other states.
A total of eight essays cover topics related to Pennsylvania's role in the Civil War, ranging from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to Camp William Penn and the service of the United States Colored Troops.
Georgia singled out Wisconsin's Supreme Court for particular excoriation because this court had the temerity to declare null and void within the state of Wisconsin the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
I would need to begin with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 and end in April 2009 when the tulips and daffodils were coming into bloom at Harriet Beecher Stowe's house in Connecticut.
17) The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (18) authorized a slave owner to seize a fugitive slave in a free state and return her to bondage after obtaining a certificate of removal from a federal judge or a state magistrate in the free state.
This first volume focuses on legislation passed during the lead-up to war, the war itself, and Reconstruction, from the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act.
withdrawing federal protection of slavery on the high seas, and relieving federal officials of their duty to return fugitive slaves to their masters under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Increasingly Southerners suspected that the Fugitive Slave Act would not be federally enforced.
With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, it became ever more dangerous for escaped slaves like Tubman to reside in the North, as slave catchers could find them and take them back into bondage.
Sandine provides a set of historical vignettes illustrating crowds in their once spontaneous, rowdier variety--such as the ones that shut down the Stamp Act in 1765, those that freed slaves awaiting return to the South under the Fugitive Slave Act, those that joined with striking railroad workers in 1877 and striking textile and rubber workers during the 1930s, and finally those of the rebellions that broke out in Harlem in 1935 and 1964 and then elsewhere during the later 1960s.