Fugitive Slave Act

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850, United States Pages: 2 (588 words) Published: December 3, 2013


To say that I find a great interest in American history would be greatly falsified. However, when it comes to slavery it keeps me much more interested than anything else, at the edge of my seat almost. To know what our ancestors may have went through and sacrificed for us to have better lives today even if it wasn’t by choice. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is an epitome source of one of the obstacles that African-American slaves had to face.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 mandated that in which slaves were to escape they were obligated to return them to their masters upon discovery. Criminal sanctions were also given to those who, in any form helped any slaves’ runaway. This act also made any federal marshal or any other official who didn’t arrest an alleged slave liable to pay a fine up to $1,000. This meant that every federal marshal or official most likely suspected 9 out of 10 African-Americans of being a run away slave because of the color of their skin. At this risk, any suspected runaway slave was not able to ask for trial or even speak on behalf of her/himself. What I believe to make matters worst was that any officer official who captured a slave was given either a bonus or promotion. I believe that this Act and acts in relation to this were put in place to placate the concerns of the south on the spreading of sympathy on slavery in the government. This law required northern states even those that were against slavery, to abide and “respect” southern laws that declared slavery legal. Basically saying, although you may not agree with our laws and may oppose against slavery you must still report any runaway slave and bring them back to the south to get put through torture. This is, however, how the Fugitive Act is seen in my eyes.

After being so intrigued at the source, I took it upon myself to do a bit of more research. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed by congress as a part of the compromise of 1850 between the Southern...
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