The Fugitive Slave Act



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Social Issues, 1850 “The Fugitive Slave Act”

In payment for Southern support for California's admission to the Union as a free state and ending the slave trade in the District of Columbia, Congress enacted the Fugitive Slave Act to assist the South with maintaining a tight rein on slaveholders’ property.

The new law created a force of federal commissioners empowered to pursue fugitive slaves in any state and return them to their owners. No statute of limitations applied, so that even those slaves who had been free for many years could be (and were) returned.

The commissioners enjoyed broad powers, including the right to compel citizens to assist in the pursuit and apprehension of runaways; fines and imprisonment awaited those who refused to cooperate. A captured runaway could not testify on his own behalf and was not entitled to a court trial. The commissioners received a fee of 10 dollars for every slave returned; the fee was reduced to five dollars if the accused slave were released.capture of a fugitive slave

The passage and enforcement of this law enraged many in the North. Some states reacted by passing legislation designed to hamper the federal commissioners' activities, but such laws were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Riots occurred in some Northern communities and soldiers were deployed to restore order.

The 1852 publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin capitalized upon the Northern sensibilities, which had been rubbed raw by the Fugitive Slave Act.



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Fugitive Slave Act
  The Fugitive Slave Act legally mandated the return of any runaway slaves, regardless of the location (state) within the Union where they were at the time of their discovery or capture.   As part of The Compromise of 1850, Fugitive Slave Act legally mandated the return of any runaway slaves, regardless of the location (state) within the Union where they were at the time of their discovery or capture.   As part of The Compromise of 1850, California was ...
http://www.civil-war.net/pages/fugitive_slave_act.asp

Fugitive Slave Act - 1850
Fugitive Slave Act 1850   The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the "Compromise of 1850." In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the Fugitive Slave Act 1850   The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the "Compromise of 1850." In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the "Compromise of 1850." In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the prohibition of ...
http://www.nationalcenter.org/FugitiveSlaveAct.html

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