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The Road to Disunion. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Focus Question:. When is it appropriate to disobey the law?. The Fugitive Slave Act. Part of the Compromise of 1850 Designed to protect property rights of Southerners Tightened up the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

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the road to disunion

The Road to Disunion

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

focus question
Focus Question:
  • When is it appropriate to disobey the law?
the fugitive slave act
The Fugitive Slave Act
  • Part of the Compromise of 1850
  • Designed to protect property rights of Southerners
    • Tightened up the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
    • Intended to counter the Underground Railroad
decline of slavery in the north
Decline of Slavery in the North
  • Anti-Slavery societies existed since 1776
    • Brought an end to slavery in the North
    • Promoted compensated emancipation
    • Formed the American Colonization Society
      • Supported establishing a colony in Africa
rise of abolition societies
Rise of Abolition Societies
  • Rejected arguments of the ACS
  • Took a radical approach to the United States
    • American Revolution was not complete
    • Saw Declaration as promoting equality of all
    • Felt that African-Americans were Americans

Promoted the complete ending of slavery

  • Utilized confrontational tactics
    • Public speeches and rallies
    • Boycotts
    • Antislavery newspapers
    • Push for education changes
activities of the underground railroad
Activities of the Underground Railroad
  • Assisted escaping slaves in the U.S.
  • Illegal group of abolitionists and sympathizers
  • Helped conduct several thousand fugitive slaves to freedom
organized resistance
Organized Resistance
  • Specific roles on the route
    • Many known as “conductors”
    • Set up secret meeting places, or “stations”
    • Organized into small groups to avoid discovery
fugitive slave act of 1850
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
  • Designed to stop these activities
    • Federal commissions for fugitive slave cases
    • Cases heard by commissioners, not juries
    • Alleged slaves could not testify
    • Simple affidavit enough to reclaim a “slave”
impacted marshal service
Impacted Marshal Service
  • Federal Marshals required to

assist slave hunters

  • Could deputize bystanders

on the spot

  • Refusal to help was

made a felony

infuriated the north
Infuriated the North
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the Act unconstitutional (overturned)
  • Many states passed Personal Liberty Laws
    • Laws stressed that residents of those states did not have to abide by the Fugitive Slave Act
    • “Nullified” the Act
    • Purpose?
led to increased conflict
Led to Increased Conflict
  • Southerners distrusted the North
    • “Refused to meet constitutional obligations”
  • Northerners had slavery brought home
    • Forced to participate
    • Saw the growth of the “Slaveocracy.”
cracks in the compromise
Cracks in the Compromise
  • The Fugitive Slave Act enflamed Northern opinion
    • Assaulted ideas of personal liberty
    • Assaulted ideas of fair play
    • Used by Abolitionists
  • Reaction to the Act infuriated the South
    • Would the “Free” states continue to abide by the Constitution?
    • What protections existed for their “property”?