Friday, September 18, 2009

The Newest Slave Act

The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by Congress September 18th 1850.

Passed by mostly southern congressmen as part of the Compromise of 1850, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, was meant to deter slaves from escape and other American citizens from helping those escapees. The law stipulated that no American citizen could assist an escaped slave. More than this it stated that if an escaped slave was sighted he should be captured and turned over to the authorities for return to their rightful owner.

In 1842 the US Supreme Court ruled in Prigg vs. Pennsylvania that states; under current law, did not have to return runaway slaves. In order to pacify the south the law was tightened up in 1850. It included the rights of slave owners to organize posses to go anywhere in the United States to recapture escaped slaves. The act stated that any federal marshal who didn’t arrest an escaped slave could be fined $1,000. Should any one provide a runway with food or shelter or aid of any kind they could be jailed for up to six months and fined $1,000.

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