Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850/ Jeramy Nickerson/ Sunday G. McLean/ Tara's Office
The Fugitive Slave Act contributed to the start of the Civil War. On January 29, 1850, the Compromise of 1850 was passed. It consisted of many laws, including the Fugitive Slave Act. The Fugitive Slave Act declared that any fugitive slave (a runaway) had to be returned to their master. This law was active in the North and the South. The slaves were denied the right to a trial, and people were given money if they turned slaves in. This caused the Underground Railroad to grow, although it
was a tough decision for citizens, whether to help or not. Citizens who sheltered or helped fugitive slaves were liable to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. Also, many fugitive slaves went to Mexico or Canada because they were free there. Any slave found a certain number of miles away from their home was considered a fugitive. The Fugitive Slave Act was very controversial and made abolitionists very angry. This law was declared unconstitutional in 1854.
There were many posters for the return of slaves
People who were desperate for money would go against their better judgement and turn in slaves.