THE 1850's Slavery

By: Keairiah B

Fast Facts

  • That nearly 1.7 million black men were in prison or under correctional supervision in the United States in 2013- nearly double the number of male African American slaves in 1850.
  • The passage of the Fugitive Slave Acts resulted in many free blacks being illegally captured and sold into slavery.
  • That the Fugitive Act law of 1793 was immediately met with heavy criticism.

Fugitive Slave Act: 1793 Law

  • Refusing to be complicit in the institution of slavery, most Northern states intentionally neglected to enforce the law.
  • Several even passed so-called “Personal Liberty Laws” that gave accused runaways the right to a jury trial and also protected free blacks, many of whom had been abducted by bounty hunters and sold into slavery.

Fugitive Slave Act: 1850 Law

  • By the mid-1800s, thousands of slaves had poured into free states via networks like the Underground railroad
  • Part of Henry Clay's famed Compromise of 1850- a group of bills that helped quiet early calls for Southern secession- this new law forcibly compelled citizens to assist in the capture of runaway slaves.
  • This had also denied slaves the right to a jury trial and increased the penalty for interfering with the rendition process to $1000 and six months in jail.
  • That they got payed more for returning a suspected suspect the for freeing them, which with that lead to many arguing that the law was biased in favor of the Southern slaveholders.
  • That the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was met with even more impassioned criticism and resistance then the earlier measure.
  • That this is also where the Underground Railroad had reached its peak where many slaves where fleeing to Canada to get out of U.S. jurisdiction.

Fugitive Slave Act: Repeal

  • Widespread opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 seen the law become virtually unenforceable in Certain Northern States.
  • By the 1860's only around 330 slaves had been successfully returned to their Southern Masters.
  • It was not until June 28,1864, that both of the Fugitive Slave Acts were officially repealed by an act of the Congress.