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A Rising Tide of Protest and Violence. Chapter 6, Section 2. Resistance Against the Fugitive Slave Act.

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resistance against the fugitive slave act
Resistance Against the Fugitive Slave Act
  • The Fugitive Slave Act, passed as part of the Compromise of 1850, angered many Northerners, rather than easing tensions between the two regions. Many saw it as a means to have Northerners support the slave system.
    • Some northern states were able to pass personal liberty lawsto nullify the act and actually arrest slave-catchers.
      • Other individuals did not have the support of the law, though. Some ‘captured slaves’ were really freedmen who had been forced to return to servitude.
  • When they appealed to judges to regain their freedom, often times judges would rule against them because they received more $$$ for ruling against.
resistance against the fugitive slave act1
Resistance Against the Fugitive Slave Act
  • In the North, some freedmen would come together to protect slaves. Another measure of help for slaves was the Underground Railroad.
    • It was an escape system used by slaves to help them reach the Northor Canada, mainly.
    • Northern abolitionists and free African Americans acted as conductorsalong the route, guiding slaves to freedom.
      • The most famous conductor for the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. She was a fugitive slave who had escaped in 1849.
resistance against the fugitive slave act2
Resistance Against the Fugitive Slave Act
    • Slaves utilized many tricks to escape from their slave masters, and with each escaped slave, Southerners grew more and more angry. The Fugitive Slave Actwas often times not enforced.
  • In 1852, abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her controversial novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It increased sympathy for the plight of slaves, which angered Southerners even more.
the kansas nebraska act undoes the missouri compromise
The Kansas-Nebraska Act Undoes the Missouri Compromise
  • Senator Stephen Douglas revived the debate over slavery in the territories within Congress. The territory at hand, the Nebraska Territory would seemingly use popular sovereignty to decide whether or not to allow slavery, as New Mexico and Utahhad done a few years before.
  • However, Southerners felt this would give yet another ‘free’ state to the North. In response, the bill was amended to divide the land into two separate territories—Nebraskaand Kansas.
the kansas nebraska act undoes the missouri compromise1
The Kansas-Nebraska Act Undoes the Missouri Compromise
  • It would become known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act(1854).
  • The belief was that Kansaswould join as a slave state, and Nebraskaas a FREEstate.
  • This idea violated the Missouri Compromise, though.
a battle rages in bleeding kansas
A Battle Rages in “Bleeding Kansas”
  • While the majority of people who settled Kansas were farmers, individuals from both the North and the South came to the territory to help populateit with those sympathetic to their cause.
  • Two governments were established in the Kansas Territory.
    • Proslavery residents from Missouri, known as Border Ruffianshad coerced citizens into voting for pro-slavery candidates. Two years after entering the territory, these individuals were attempting to establish a constitution that would favor their pro-slavery agenda.
    • In 1856, the anti-slavery contingent in Kansas had established their own government in Lawrence. They petitioned for statehood in 1856.
a battle rages in bleeding kansas1
A Battle Rages in “Bleeding Kansas”
    • The Border Ruffians raided Lawrence and there was quick retaliation from John Brown, a leading abolitionist who had moved to Kansas to confront the slavery issue.
      • Brown massacred five pro-slavery settlers, and instead of receiving support from other abolitionists, they were outraged.
  • The many battles that ensued between pro and anti-slavery settlers earned Kansas the nickname “Bleeding Kansas”, because of all the blood that was spilled.
a battle rages in bleeding kansas2
A Battle Rages in Bleeding Kansas
  • Fighting took place outside of Kansas as well. Even in the Senate, tensions flared: after giving a moving speech against slavery, Massachusetts representative Charles Sumnerwas attacked with a cane by South Carolina representative Preston Brooksunconscious.
    • The two states kept re-electing the individuals, as reminders for each side the growing tension and resolve.