Fugitive slave acts

And the said court, commissioner, judge, or other person authorized by this act to grant certificates to claimants or fugitives, shall, upon the production of the record and other evidences aforesaid, grant to such claimant a certificate of his right to take any such person identified and proved to be owing service or labor as aforesaid, which certificate shall authorize such claimant to seize or arrest and transport such person to the State or Territory from which he escaped: In no trial or hearing under this act shall the testimony of such alleged fugitive be admitted in evidence; and the certificates in this and the first [fourth] section mentioned, shall be conclusive of the right of the person or persons in whose favor granted, to remove such fugitive to the State or Territory from which he escaped, and shall prevent all molestation of such person or persons by any process issued by any court, judge, magistrate, or other person whomsoever.

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. Fugitive Slave ActsArthur G. The act represented this effort to hold the country together. On the other side, Northerners sought to respect the Constitution's fugitive slave clause and thereby preserve the Union by accommodating Southern anger over the fugitive slave issue.

The Underground Railroad reached its peak in the s, with many slaves fleeing to Canada to escape U. Some propose that reparations be paid into a fund that would finance education, health care, and economic opportunities for black Americans rather than be paid to individuals.

And be it further enacted, That the Superior Court of each organized Territory of the United States shall have the same power to appoint commissioners to take acknowledgments of bail and affidavits, and to take depositions of witnesses in civil causes, which is now possessed by the Circuit Court of the United States; and all commissioners who shall hereafter be appointed for such purposes by the Superior Court of any organized Territory of the United States, shall possess all the powers, and exercise all the duties, conferred by law upon the commissioners appointed by the Circuit Courts of the United States for similar purposes, and shall moreover exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this act.

Webster sought to enforce a law that was extremely unpopular in the North, and his Whig Party passed him over again when they chose a presidential nominee in Section 4 makes assisting runaways and fugitives a crime and outlines the punishment for those who assisted runaway slaves: The Law of American Slavery.

Thus, both the spirit and the letter of the Fugitive Slave Act of were completely abandoned. Slave owners needed only to supply an affidavit to a Federal marshal to capture an escaped slave. By an act of July 17,any slave of a disloyal master who was in territory occupied by Northern troops was declared ipso facto free.

Compromise of 1850

Furthermore, many white Americans are descended from people who immigrated to the United States after the Civil Warand so should not be blamed for slavery or made responsible for paying reparations.

Opponents of reparations argue that many black Americans are not descended from slaves, and that it would be difficult to establish who would be eligible for reparations.

The Fugitive Slave Acts & Civil War

And be it further enacted, That, upon affidavit made by the claimant of such fugitive, his agent or attorney, after such certificate has been issued, that he has reason to apprehend that such fugitive will be rescued by force from his or their possession before he can be taken beyond the limits of the State in which the arrest is made, it shall be the duty of the officer making the arrest to retain such fugitive in his custody, and to remove him to the State whence he fled, and there to deliver him to said claimant, his agent, or attorney.

While some believe that reparations should be paid by the U. Whereupon the court shall cause a record to be made of the matters so proved, and also a general description of the person so escaping, with such convenient certainty as may be; and a transcript of such record, authenticated by the attestation of the clerk and of the seal of the said court, being produced in any other State, Territory, or district in which the person so escaping may be found, and being exhibited to any judge, commissioner, or other officer authorized by the law of the United States to cause persons escaping from service or labor to be delivered up, shall be held and taken to be full and conclusive evidence of the fact of escape, and that the service or labor of the person escaping is due to the party in such record mentioned.

The unsuccessful resolution was the first attempt to include a fugitive slave provision in U. As part of The Compromise ofCalifornia was Slavery, Law, and Politics.

The act allowed a slave owner to seize an escaped slave, present the slave before a federal or local judge, and, upon proof of ownership, receive a certificate authorizing the slave to be retaken.

He confiscated the slaves as contraband of war and set them free, figuring that the loss of workers would also damage the Confederacy. Abolitionists effectively used the act and the court decisions upholding it to call attention to the evils of slavery.

Fugitive Slave Act

Pennsylvaniathe Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania's personal liberty law of was unconstitutional. Serious attempts at formulating a uniform policy for the recapture of escaped slaves began under the Articles of Confederation of the United States in United States marshals were required to be diligent in the enforcement of the act and could be fined for being lax.

Penalties were imposed upon marshals who refused to enforce the law or from whom a fugitive should escape, and upon individuals who aided Negroes to escape; the marshal might organize a posse; a fee of ten dollars was paid to the commissioner when his decision favored the claimant and only five dollars when it favored the fugitive; and both the fact of the escape and the identity of the fugitive were to be determined on purely ex parte one party testimony.

The law also enabled the federal government to save slavery from extinction when the institution was dying throughout the rest of the world.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Distribution of Slaves Although the Southern states were known collectively as the "slave states" by the end of the Antebellum Period, this map provides statistical evidence to demonstrate that slaves were not evenly distributed throughout each state or the region as a whole.

References Coddon, Karin S. Virginia governor John B. As such the US Congress eventually passed legislation that forbade Union forces from returning runaway slaves to their masters, and President Abraham Lincoln consolidated that shifting attitude towards slavery with the Emancipation Proclamationwhich made the institution's destruction an official war goal.

The original version was read to Congress on March 1,and it contained a clause stating: The Ordinance of was drafted by a Congressional committee headed by Thomas Jeffersonand its provisions applied to all United States territory west of the original 13 states.

The jury nullifications ruined his presidential aspirations and his last-ditch efforts to find a compromise between North and South. Refusing to be complicit in the institution of slavery, most Northern states intentionally neglected to enforce the law.

Some abolitionists organized clandestine resistance groups and built complex networks of safe houses to aid slaves in their escape to the North.

Riots occurred in some Northern communities and soldiers were deployed to restore order. The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18,as part of the Compromise of between.

The Fugitive Slave Act of Statutes at Large, Chap. VII, p.February 12, Chapter VIIC An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters.

The Fugitive Slave Act of mandated that states to which escaped slaves fled were obligated to return them to their masters upon their discovery and subjected persons who helped runaway slaves to criminal sanctions. It had secured the type of fugitive slave law it had long demanded, and although California came in as a free state, it elected proslavery representatives.

Moreover, New Mexico and Utah enacted slave codes, technically opening the territories to slavery. As the Fugitive Slave Act made clear, the shift in substantive northern priorities and the concomitant rise of a new public morality would be incompatible with any further extension of the.

Slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law Using Opposing Viewpoints Eastman Johnson - A Ride for Liberty -- The Fugitive Slaves - Oil on paperboard - 22 x in - c - Scanned from Eastman Johnson: Painting America Kathryn Jones North Reading Public Schools.

Fugitive slave acts
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