Fugitive Slave Law
The avowed purpose of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was to render the Act of 1793 "adequate to the constitutional guarantees" which had been given to the owners of fugitive slaves. 1. This was to be done by providing more effective execution of the law and by freeing the slaveholder, or his agent, from molestation. That Southerners felt justified in demanding such guarantees can hardly be denied. For abolitionist elements and antislavery advocates in the North, however, the question remained: Did the desire to placate the South, and the dangers inherent in the crisis which faced the nation in the summer of 1850, cause Congress to exceed the limitations placed upon it by the Constitution? Among certain groups in the North, answers to this question, pro and con, were highly significant in the development of public opinion toward the compromise measures in general and the Fugitive Slave Law in particular.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Slave Catchers: Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, 1850-1860. Contributors: Stanley W. Campbell - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1970. Page number: Not available.
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