1850 fugitive slave law
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1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Law enforcement officials who chose not to arrest alleged runaway slaves could be fined $1000 ($26,600 today) A claimant’s sworn testimony was sufficient for an arrest No jury trial could be given, nor could the suspected runaway provide testimony

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1850 Fugitive Slave Law

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1850 fugitive slave law

1850 Fugitive Slave Law

  • Law enforcement officials who chose not to arrest alleged runaway slaves could be fined $1000 ($26,600 today)

  • A claimant’s sworn testimony was sufficient for an arrest

  • No jury trial could be given, nor could the suspected runaway provide testimony

  • Any citizen aiding an escaped slave could be fined $1000 and/or serve jail time

  • The federal official got $5 if the runaway was freed, but $10 if not


Effects

Effects

  • Turns many moderates in the North into stronger opponents of slavery and the South

  • Many free blacks in the North were enslaved since they had little opportunity to defend themselves in court

  • Northerners were now forced to participate in a practice they did not like, rather than simply ignore it

  • Supports belief of a Southern slave-power conspiracy


The dred scott decision

The Dred Scott Decision


Background

Background

  • Scott born a slave in VA in 1800, taken to MO in 1820, then bought by army surgeon John Emerson & taken to IL (a free state)

  • In 1836, Emerson & Scott move to the WI territory; Congress had banned slavery in all territories in the Missouri Compromise of 1820

  • Emerson reassigned to LA but leaves Scott in WI; Emerson marries and sends for Scott to come to LA

  • Emerson dies, & Dredd Scott is inherited by his wife Eliza


The case

The Case

  • In 1846, Scott sues for his freedom based on his past habitation in free states & territories, but keeps losing on technicalities

  • Reaches Supreme Court by March 1857

  • Court, consisting of mostly men who support slavery, hands down decision:

  • Scott cannot sue bc he is black, & therefore not a citizen of the United States

  • The ban on slavery in territories was considered unconstitutional


Effects1

Effects

  • Once again, outrages Northerners & fuels the theory of a slave-power conspiracy

  • Congress had seemed to side with the South in the K-N Act, 10 out of 15 of the first presidents were slave-owners, & now the Supreme Court had seemed to side w/ the South; that’s 3 out of 3 branches of gov.

  • Northerners were terrified the next ruling would be that all states had no right to ban slavery

  • Further fanned flames of civil war


The good news

The Good News...

  • Dred Scott’s 1st owner purchased freedom for he & his family 2 months after trial

  • BUT...Scott dies of tuberculosis 18 months later


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