100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 4 out of 15 pages.
Fugitive Slave ActLeslie ChangeDepartment of HistoryHistory 110Dr. Julian MadisonApril 28, 2016The Fugitive Slave Act was conflict intensified over the issue of escaped, runaway slaves.It required that all escaped slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters and thatChange 0
officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate in this law. This act became one of thebiggest controversial laws of the early 19th century, and many Northern states passed speciallegislation in an attempt to avoid them in which it was repeal by the Thirteenth Amendment. Thepassage of the Thirteenth Amendment at the end of the Civil War in 1865 marked the first timethe federal government attempted to protect the rights of black people. Up until the Civil War,black people in the North were subject to economic, political, and social discrimination. Theywere denied political rights that they could not vote, attend public school, or testify against whitepeople. And many of those African Americans lived with the constant fear that they would beaccused of being fugitive slaves and forcibly returned to slavery in the South from the FugitiveSlave Act. 1The Act was a big cause leading to the Civil War where the Northern states, whichwere free states, wanted to end slavery from the Southern states, which were the slave states.2The Fugitive Slave Act which was passed twice, in 1793 and revised in 1850, highlighted theuneasy accommodation between North and South on the issue of slavery. Northern social andlegal reactions against the acts were threatening and insulting to Southerners. Southerners feltthat some abolitionists in the North and even some Northern legislatures were encouragingslaves to revolt, a possibility that many Southerners greatly feared. Slavery was an important partof the Southern way of life, and slave labor was a significant aspect of the Southern states'economy. Northerners opposed slavery yet were concerned that the political, economic, andideological conflict with the South over slavery could threaten a civil war between the two sides.1Chadwick, French Esnor. Causes of the civil war, 1859–1861(1906) p. 82James C. Bradford, A Companion to American Military History(2010), vol. 1, p. 101.Change 1
3The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 guaranteed the right of a slave-owner to recover runaway slaves. The act was called, "An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters" and it created the legal tool by which that could be accomplished. The act was passed by the House of Representatives on February 4, 1793 with a majority vote of 48–7. George Washington signed the act and the law was approved on February 12, 1793 due to the increasing number of runaway slaves. The Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 intended purpose of the laws was to give slave owners the legal protection when dealing with theproblem of runaway slaves. The laws gave any slave owner the ability to seize an alleged escaped slave, present the slave to a judge and with proof of ownership, then the slave have to legally returned to their service. However, the only proof that was required was the testimony of